FORTVILLE — Dixon Tierney is returning to familiar territory.

After a terrific outing Saturday at the New Palestine Sectional, in which Tierney qualified for state in four events, the Mt. Vernon senior will make his third straight trip to the IHSAA State Finals this weekend at the IUPUI Natatorium.

Tierney, who battled sickness all week, won the 200-yard individual medley by nearly three seconds and was a part of the winning 200 freestyle relay team with Matt Bauchert, Bryce Gray and Tim Broaders.

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He also advanced in the 100 butterfly behind Zach Cook of Greenfield-Central. The same foursome of Tierney, Bauchert, Gray and Broaders qualified for state in the 400 freestyle relay, as well.

Last season as a junior, Tierney qualified for the state finals in the four events, finishing 11th in the 200 medley relay, 12th in the 200 individual medley, 17th in the 100 butterfly and 23rd in the 400 freestyle relay.

The Daily Reporter caught up with Tierney to talk about his final season and his thoughts entering the state meet for the third time.

Q What did you do over the summer to make sure you could return to IUPUI at season’s end?

A This summer we mainly worked on endurance stuff and mostly long distance stuff and getting my stamina training. We did endurance lifting, and I did a lot of running. We did a lot of underwater kicking and drills, too. I swam club at HSE (Southeastern Swim Club). They run a really fast program. They have some fast swimmers I can train with. I think that’s the biggest thing that’s helped me.

DR: How has coach Matt Kruse helped in your development compared to swimming club?

DT: We do a lot of sprinting with Kruse. In club, it is more yardage to get in shape and conditioning. Kruse just wants us to get out and swim in high school. It’s mostly all short yardage. He likes to keep our lactate levels up high, I think that helps me. It helps me with sprints.

DR: What are some personal goals in your final high school meet?

DT: Some of my goals are definitely to get top eight in the 200 IM (individual medley) and the 100-yard butterfly. Hopefully, in our relay, the 200 freestyle relay, maybe we can get top eight in that. Time wise, Kruse and I are hoping I can go 1:50 or 1:49 in the 200 IM. In the 100 fly, we are hoping I can go 48 high or 49 low. That will really place me high up in those two events.

DR: What are you doing this week to get over your sickness? Any different type of training?

DT: Thursday I went to the doctor. I have really been blowing my nose, getting a lot of rest and food in me. I’m feeling a lot better. Yesterday (Monday) I did about 4,000 yards and today I did about 3,000. I’m getting those yards in to flush out my system so my body can rest up again.

DR: How has your sister (Lydia Tierney) and family being involved in the sport helped over the years?

DT: I like it because my brother (Aidan) is in seventh grade and is also a swimmer. We can all talk about swimming in general. Technique wise, I was up in the stands at the diving part of the sectional asking my 13-year-old brother what I should do about my breaststroke. Lydia, I have to take her to practice in the morning. If I don’t want to go, she kind of makes me. She wants to go. It’s helped me out in the summer. She also enjoys to work out in the weight room. It’s just nice to talk to them about it.

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Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or