NEW PALESTINE — As Greenfield-Central’s swimmers coasted through the water Saturday at the New Palestine Sectional, a phrase on each of their arms moving above and below the surface served as a conscious reminder.
Written in black marker on each of the Cougars’ right bicep was the word “compete,” with a line drawn directly through the middle. Below compete in all capital letters was “dominate.” Under, in smaller writing, was “your lane.”
“It is not so much about not competing, since we have it marked out, or dominating,” junior Ethan Kile said. “It is about dominating yourself and making sure you’re not just racing, but you are doing the best you can. It is about dominating your lane and setting yourself up for next week (at state).”
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After six consecutive sectional titles, Greenfield-Central needed — and found — its own source of inspiration. The Cougars won 10 of 12 events and finished second in two more on Saturday to run away with its seventh straight sectional championship.
Greenfield-Central finished with 557 points, while Mt. Vernon was second with 313. New Palestine and Richmond tied for third place with 235 points. Eastern Hancock was eighth overall with 93.
Kile and fellow juniors Zach Cook and Chris Joven each qualified for state in four events, including the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays with senior Allen Forbes.
Freshman Samuel Jennings continued his promising rookie season and won the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.
Their efforts helped Greenfield-Central break six school and five sectional records en route to the team’s largest margin of victory. The 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay teams set new school and sectional marks, while Kile, Cook, Joven and junior diver Ben Rader all broke sectional or school records.
Cook, who had two top-five finishes at state last year, easily won the 100-yard butterfly (sectional record) and 100-yard backstroke. Kile took first in the 200-yard individual medley (school record) by approximately eight seconds and also earned a blue ribbon in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“This is probably the best performance as a team that we’ve had,” Kile said. “So many records were broken and we set ourselves up well.”
Joven also set school and sectional records in the 50-and 100-yard freestyles.
Rader’s final two dives of the day were his most impressive and helped him score 473.65 points, which was enough for second place. New Palestine freshman Colin Stacey, in his first postseason meet, also qualified for the Plainfield Diving Regional today (6 p.m.) with a third-place finish. He totaled 445.30 points.
Rader, who does not keep track of his own score during meets unlike most divers, was in shock after he realized what he accomplished — the highest 11-dive score in program history.
“When I saw the score, I thought that had to be the last guy’s score,” Rader said. “I just put the front double twist in this week. You really have to get (your body) into it.
“Those were really high difficult dives in the final round. At conference, I was about 40 points lower without doing those.”
Mt. Vernon also will be represented at state this weekend. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Bryce Gray, Timmy Broaders, Joshua Blackburn and Kaylen Morgan edged Greenfield-Central for first and will swim at IUPUI for the second year in a row.
Morgan and Blackburn fought off a quick start from the Cougars, only to see Broaders and Gray bring the championship home with quick splits on the final two legs of the race.
“It was great, I saw Josh come in and I thought ‘I have to go,’” Broaders said. “I went and got them on the turn (back half of race).”
Added Gray: “I liked the order we had. At first I thought ‘oh no, I am going to have to go, go go,’ and then I saw Tim (Broaders). After that, I just needed to finish it up.”
Broaders, a junior, and Gray, a senior, swam in the event last season at the state finals and own the sectional record with current Mt. Vernon coach Dixon Tierney, who graduated in 2016. On Saturday, the training partners finished in third and fourth in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, as well.
Eastern Hancock, which nearly scored 100 points with a limited number of bodies, was led by senior Chris Walton, who leaves the program as the record holder in several events. He finished fourth overall in the 500-yard freestyle on Saturday in 5:14.84. Walton teamed with Elijah Harris, Garret Henderson and Lane Coffin to finish eighth in the 200-yard freestyle relay and seventh in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Also for the host Dragons, seniors Aaron Lambert and Chase Crowder were seventh and eighth in the 200-yard individual medley, respectively, while senior Michael O’Leary was fourth in the 100-yard butterfly. O’Leary and Crowder teamed with sophomores Marlon Cabrera and Tyler Corey to finish fourth in the 200-yard medley relay. In the 200-yard freestyle, junior Louis Holbrook was sixth.
2 Mt. Vernon;313
3 New Palestine;235
8 New Castle;99
9 Eastern Hancock;93
10 Rushville Consolidated;47
200 Medley Relay: 1st – Greenfield-Central (Cook, Kile, Forbes, Joven) 1:35.15, 2nd – Mt. Vernon (Thomas, Shepard, Amos, Lynch) 1:46.97, 3rd – Hagerstown (Reagan, Wales, Baumer, Hickes) 1:48.42.
200 Free: 1st – Jennings (GC) 1:47.71, 2nd – Brehm (RH) 1:48.55, 3rd – Kintner (GC) 1:51.94.
200 IM: 1st – Kile (GC) 1:55.92, 2nd – Kerber (GC) 2:03.85, 3rd – Metcalfe (CV) 2:07.12.
50 Free: 1st – Joven (GC) 21.18, 2nd – Spurlock (CV) 21.31, 3rd – Broaders (MV) 22.10.
Diving: 1st – Khamis (RH) 592.60, 2nd – Rader (GC) 473.65, 3rd – Stacey (NP) 445.30.
100 Fly: 1st – Cook (GC) 49.84, 2nd – Forbes (GC) 52.34, 3rd – Kerber (GC) 54.29.
100 Free: 1st – Joven (GC) 46.82, 2nd – Spurlock (CV) 47.74, 3rd – Broaders (MV) 48.46.
500 Free: 1st – Jennings (GC) 4:55.84, 2nd – Bianchi (GC) 5:06.17, 3rd – Prince (GC) 5:10.91.
200 Free Relay: 1st – Mt. Vernon (Gray, Broaders, Morgan, Blackburn) 1:30.90, 2nd – Greenfield-Central (Payne, Kerber, DeKeyser, Jennings) 1:31.52, 3rd – Connersville (Stevens, Getz, Metcalfe, Spurlock) 1:35.36.
100 Back: 1st – Cook (GC), 51.69, 2nd – Forbes (GC) 53.01, 3rd – Metcalfe (CV) 57.41.
100 Breast: 1st – Kile (GC) 59.70, 2nd – Helderbrand (NC) 1:00.61, 3rd – DeKeyser (GC) 1:03.23.
400 Free Relay: 1st – Greenfield-Central (Joven, Forbes, Cook, Kile) 3:12.20, 2nd – Mt. Vernon (Broaders, Morgan, Blackburn, Gray) 3:27.15, 3rd – Connersville (Keaffaber, Metcalfe, Stevens, Spurlock) 3:31.37.