NEW PALESTINE — Emotions were high and times were low for the Greenfield-Central swim team Saturday.
They came out not only ready to win their eighth straight title at the New Palestine Sectional but also to break some records. Not one, not two, not even three, but five records were broken by the Cougars.
They won all but one event. A senior trio led the way along with a surprise shattered record from a sophomore.
As Samuel Jennings finished turn after turn in the 500-yard freestyle, the crowd kept getting louder and louder. This was faster than he had ever swam it before. The blue and gold erupted when the scoreboard flashed 4:44.17.
Jennings had not only set a record but beat the previous record by more than 10 seconds — 11.38 seconds to be exact. New Castle’s Kyler Durham had held the lowest time since 2010 when he swam a 4:55.55.
“It was an outstanding day for Sam Jennings,” Greenfield-Central head coach Mark Logan said.
And the 500 free wasn’t the first record he set. He had broken another of Durham’s records in the 200 free earlier in the meet. He glided to a 1:44.30, beating the 2011 time of 1:46.12. Seniors Chris Joven, Ethan Kile and Zach Cook broke the rest of the records, aided by freshman Travis Black. Joven beat his own record in the 200 free, dropping .2 seconds from last year. He finished with a 46.80.
“It’s the best feeling to look up and see, ‘I did it — I dropped my time and I won the race,” he said.
He also made a state cut (21.36) in the 50 free. This was a race he was set up to win holding the best time in the preliminaries. Then Connersville’s Zane Spurlock came out of nowhere and won the race with a 21.27. Joven holds the record from last year when he swam a 21.18.
Kile had plans of his own in the 200 individual medley. A 1:54.83 best time from 2016 was waiting to be beaten. Kile finished the medley with a 1:54.54. He also was the sectional champ in the 100 butterfly.
“I’ve worked a lot on my mental game this year and making sure I’m not putting too much pressure on myself,” Kile said. “That has been a problem for me in years past, but I have really worked on less expectations and going in and giving it my all.”
Another senior who gave his all was Zach Cook. He currently holds records in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly from previous years. This year, he won those two events and helped the relay break the final record for the night.
“They bring a lot of leadership,” Logan said of the senior trio. “I can count on them to make sure everybody is working hard.”
The 200 free relay was the third record in a row and the last one for the Cougars. Joven, Kile, Cook and Black swam a 1:27.05, scraping past the 1:27.85 that Mt. Vernon held from 2016. The foursome also won the 400 free relay. Samuel Logan, Andrew Noah, Cameron Rader and Black won the 200 medley relay.
“This is a group that we’ve been together several years,” Logan said. “They have always been focused on this opportunity and building this legacy.”
Greenfield-Central will compete in a total of eight individual events and three relays at the state meet on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s really nice to get a sectional record, but I think most importantly we still have another week,” Kile said. “Times were fast today but hopefully faster next week.”
In diving, senior Ben Rader finished in second place with an 11-dive score of 466.35. Cougar dive coach Duane Knecht said he even added a new dive — a back 1½ — to his sectional list.
“If he can score that well at regionals, he should have no problem making it to state,” Knecht said.
Rader had broken a six-dive score for a school record earlier this year and holds the 11-dive record from the 2017 sectional meet.
Marauder senior Jordan Spearman placed fourth with a 320.90 dive score and will be headed to regional today.
The Mt. Vernon swim team came in second place with senior Timothy Broaders and freshman Aiden Tierney leading the way.
Broaders broke two school records and was milliseconds away from making the state cuts in the 50 and 100 freestyle — in which he placed third. In the 50 free, he timed 21.94 and the state cut was 21.59. In the 100 free, he swam a 47.85 and the cut off was 47.42.
Mt. Vernon head coach Brad Grieshop said they will wait and see if he gets called down. The team also had some good looks from Tierney, who took two second places in the 200 IM (1:59.17) and 100 backstroke (0:59.76).
“Aiden Tierney definitely had a great meet in the IM and the breaststroke for a freshman coming out,” Grieshop said. “The times he was able to give us was awesome.”
Overall, Mt. Vernon had 13 individual placements in the top eight with all three relay teams placing second. The 200 medley relay team consisted of Elijah Thomas, Thomas Amos, Joseph Shepard and Kaylen Morgan. The 200 free relay had Aiden Tierney, Morgan, Josh Blackburn and Broaders. The 400 free relay was Broaders, Logan Schomaker, Blackburn and Tierney.
New Palestine finished in fourth place scoring 236 points. They placed in the top eight in six individual events and had a third, fourth and fifth place in the relays. Their top swimmer was junior Iago Broullon-Blanco who placed third in the 200 IM (2:03.56) and the 100 breaststroke (1:00.81).
Eastern Hancock ended in sixth place with 170 points. They also had six individual placements in the top eight. Senior Christopher Walton was their top finisher, swimming a 5:02.52 for second place in the 500 free. Walton also placed fifth in the 100 back and was joined by sophomore Garret Henderson who placed fifth in the 500 free. Their relay teams finished fifth and sixth in the 200 medley and the 400 free, respectively.