GREENFIELD — With two top-five finishes at the state finals last season, Greenfield-Central junior Zach Cook knows what to expect this weekend at IUPUI. Competitors at state, in contrast to the sectional, will be separated by fractions of a second.
For Cook and company, it is officially time to race.
Making it further than any swimmer in school history last year, Cook will be vying for state titles individually in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke this weekend. He also will have an opportunity to make some noise with two relay teams, as Cook will join senior Allen Forbes and juniors Christopher Joven and Ethan Kile in the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.
Cook enters the meet seeded third (49.84) in the 100-yard butterfly and seventh in the 100-yard backstroke (51.69). In the 100-yard butterfly, Matthew Jerden of Bloomington South is seeded first with a time of 49.71.
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“All this year, I have been going back and forth being ranked first or second with Matthew Jerden,” Cook said. “I am definitely expecting to place better than I did last year.
“We are all so close and a fraction of a second makes a big difference. In the butterfly, especially, the race will come down to the breakout (off the wall) and the underwaters (kicking). We will see who can push through a little better.”
In the 200-yard medley relay, Greenfield-Central is seeded eighth with a time of 1:35.15. Carmel is the top seed in the event, having swam a 1:31.91 at its sectional. With all four individuals also making the state finals in an event by themselves, Cook likes the Cougars chances of placing high.
Cook will swim the butterfly leg of the relay, while Kile will swim the breaststroke portion. Joven will handle the freestyle leg, while Forbes will be responsible for the backstroke.
“We are all good in our respective strokes,” Cook said. “Being three juniors and a senior, we are a big part of the leadership. The accountability in the relays plays a big part in that, and we make sure to push each other in practice.
“We set out a goal at the beginning of the season to finish in the top eight. We have really been working for it.”
Kile is seeded 26th in the 100-yard breaststroke for Friday’s preliminary rounds and 22nd in the 200-yard individual medley. Joven is seeded eighth — top eight place at state — in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyles. Forbes is seeded 26th in the 100-yard backstroke.
The foursome, which helped Greenfield-Central win its seventh consecutive sectional title, is seeded 12th in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“(Joven) really starts us off well with his speed,” Cook said. “Us racing in practice with the same stroke has definitely helped (the 400 relay).”
Mt. Vernon’s 200-yard freestyle relay team will also be attendance at state Friday and enters the meet seeded in 28th. At the sectional, sophomore Kaylen Morgan led off the race, with junior Joshua Blackburn right behind him. Junior Tim Broaders and senior Bryce Gray are returning to state in the event and add speed and experience to the back half of the relay.
In the diving portion of the meet, which will take place on Saturday, Greenfield-Central junior Ben Rader looks to improve on his 31st place finish last season. Rader will be 28th in the diving order and is hoping to cement himself somewhere in the top 12 when it’s all said and done, he said.
Also for the Cougars, freshman Samuel Jennings looks to make a splash in his first time swimming at state. Jennings is seeded 29th in the 500-yard freestyle and 32nd in the 200-yard freestyle after claiming sectional titles in both events at New Palestine.
“Practices are getting a bit shorter this week, and we are resting in the mornings,” Cook said of the team’s state finals preparation. “We are doing a little sprint work with our strokes and just fine tuning some things.”
Boys Swim State Finals
Where: IUPUI Natatorium, 901 West New York Street, Indianapolis
When: 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday
Advancement: The top 16 in each swimming event during Friday’s preliminary rounds will return for competition Saturday, with the top eight individuals swimming for state championship honors. Those finishing nine through 16 on Friday will make up the competitors in the consolation heats. All diving will take place Saturday.
Webstream: IHSAAtv.org on Saturday at 1 p.m.