INDIANAPOLIS — As seats emptied and teams posed for pictures, Greenfield-Central head swim coach Mark Logan gazed around the IUPUI Natatorium, completely satisfied. Though they usually maintain a cool and calm demeanor, Logan and the rest of the Cougars finally let loose.
There were smiles, hugs and high-fives all around Saturday as Greenfield-Central recorded its best finish in school history — ninth overall — at the IHSAA State Swim Championships. The Cougars also, for the first time, produced an individual state champion.
Junior Zach Cook swam a lifetime best to top the field in the 100-yard butterfly, helping Greenfield-Central finish with 107 points.
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Senior Allen Forbes and juniors Ethan Kile, Ben Rader and Christopher Joven also had their hands in the record-breaking performance, giving the small but mighty crowd of blue and yellow supporters at the top of the bleachers plenty of reasons to roar.
“People don’t understand, Indiana is a fast swim state,” Logan said. “They were breaking national records (here). To place in the top 10, that is the real deal.”
Despite being seeded second behind Matthew Jurden of Bloomington South, Cook led the whole race. He finished his school-record swim in 48.60, while Jurden was second in 48.97.
“I was definitely in the zone and ready,” Cook said. “Throughout the season, I had trouble on my turns on the wall. I was hitting those well (Saturday), and it was just a great race.”
Joven also recorded a top-eight finish after sprinting to sixth place in the 100-yard freestyle. After just missing the cut in the 50-yard freestyle on Friday, Joven won his consolation final Saturday to finish ninth overall in 21:09. That time would have placed him in sixth in the state championship final.
Joven teamed with Cook, Forbes and Kile in 200-yard medley relay to finish fifth overall in 1:34.22. The foursome ended the season in winning fashion later in the meet after taking first in the 400-yard freestyle relay consolation final.
Forbes and Cook also swam in the 100-yard backstroke. Cook placed fifth in the final for the second consecutive season, while Forbes was 15th in the consolation final.
In diving, junior Ben Rader went from 16th in the semifinal round to 14th in the final. He finished with a total score of 392.30 after placing seventh at the Plainfield Regional. Rader, who is known to save a few of his highest-scoring dives for last, was in 18th after the preliminary round.
Prior to the state finals, Greenfield-Central ran away with conference and sectional titles. Forbes will be lost to graduation, but the Cougars will reload next year — in addition to the return of Cook, Kile, Rader and Joven — with a strong incoming freshman class.
On Saturday, however, the Cougars were simply enjoying the moment. And Logan couldn’t have been more proud.
“They are just a great group of guys,” he said.
For more coverage on the weekend’s state swim contest, see page XX.