INDIANAPOLIS — The times were fast and so were the Greenfield-Central Cougars during the opening night of the 81st annual IHSAA Boys Swimming and Diving State Finals.
On Friday night, the Cougars advanced in seven events and will compete in today’s finals, beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the swimming and diving championships at 1 p.m.
“We finished out with the (400-yard) freestyle relay getting into the top eight. They were ninth last year, so it was good to see that improvement,” Greenfield-Central head coach Mark Logan said. “This meet is really fast, and we went really fast tonight. It went faster than sectional, so there were a lot of swims back to back.”
The defending 100 butterfly state champion Zachary Cook kept busy for the Cougars on preliminary night, advancing as an individual in three events and as part of the school’s 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
In Cook’s signature event, he was second overall during the preliminaries behind Carmel’s Drew Kibler, who was first in the 100 butterfly. Cook, an Indiana recruit, posted a time of 48.90 seconds, while Kibler, a Texas commit, set the top preliminary time at 46.81.
“We’re not worried about times. The past few years, head-to-head, Zach hasn’t lost a high school race. He never raced him head-to-head, so now we’ll see what happens tomorrow,” Logan said. “We’ll make some adjustments and make sure we’re ready. That’s what it’s about racing. It will be a good race when you’re going against a junior national team member. If you’re right there with him, then kudos.”
Cook won the 100 butterfly last year with a time of 48.60 to nearly match his preliminary time of 48.61.
In the 100 backstroke, Cook placed 10th with a time of 51.18 to advance, but he wasn’t the only Cougars swimmer to find success.
A sixth-place finisher in the 100 freestyle with a time of 46.32 as a junior in 2016-17, Greenfield-Central’s Chris Joven put together a 46.80 for 12th in the preliminaries, guaranteeing chance to compete today.
Joven also moved into the consolations in the 50 freestyle with a 12th-place swim in 21.13. As a junior, he finished ninth at state in 21.09 after posting a preliminary race time of 21.16.
Seeded 12th, the Greenfield-Central 200 freestyle relay team crushed their sectional time to place fifth in the state preliminaries to set itself up for top-eight medal contention on Saturday.
The Cougars entered with a seed time of 1:27.05. Joven, Travis Black, Ethan Kile and Cook bested it with a 1:25.44.
Kile, a state-qualifier in the 200 individual medley a year ago, turned in a preliminary time of 1:53.84 to improve on his sectional-winning time of 1:54.54. He entered state seeded 20th and finished 18th.
As a junior, Kile placed 26th in the 200 IM at state with a time of 1:57.93, adding two seconds to his seed time.
Kile moved onto today in the 100 breaststroke, finishing 15th with a time of 57.92. The top 16 in each event move on with the top eight competing in the championship races.
Cougars’ Samuel Jennings was 25th in the 500 freestyle preliminaries with a time of 4:46.83. He was 19th in the 200 freestyle at 1:43.58.
Among those top competitors will be the Cougar’s 400 freestyle relay team of Joven, Jennings, Kile and Cook, who posted a 3:07.92 for fifth overall to end the night.
“At the end of the meet that really went fast, it worked out,” Logan said. “Last year, we had a good Saturday, came back and swam faster, so we’re going to prepare for that.”
The Cougars’ 200 medley relay team finished 25th in the preliminaries with a time of 1:40.25. Freshman Samuel Logan, senior Samuel Grant DeKeyser, senior Cameron Rader and Black cutting their seed time of 1:41.61 by more than a second.