NEW PALESTINE — Hancock County will be represented by a familiar trio Friday at the girls swimming state finals.
Greenfield-Central’s Carly Fernandes and Taylor Johnson will be returning to Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI to swim with the best in the Hoosier State after claiming individual blue ribbons for the second year in a row at New Palestine during Saturday’s sectional meet. New Palestine's Emily Trimpe will be making her third straight state trip.
Mt. Vernon’s Emily McKinney advanced to today’s diving regional at Plainfield, needing at top-eight finish to join her county comrades in Indianapolis.
Much like the 2012 contest, Saturday’s team competition came down to the final event — the 400 freestyle relay.
Connersville won that race, sealing the championship with 356 points, four ahead of reigning title-holder Mt. Vernon (352).
New Palestine (312) took third and Greenfield-Central was fourth (293).
Rounding out the field was Richmond (285), New Castle (243), Centerville (163), Hagerstown (71), Eastern Hancock (55) and Rushville (46).
Fernandes (200 individual medley) and Johnson (100 butterfly) both repeated as sectional victors their respective events, and each established a new sectional record in the process.
For Fernandes, she’s had her sights on the sectional mark of 2:13.17 since winning the event last year with a time of 2:14.81.
Now, the senior has another objective in mind for next weekend: make it to Saturday’s finals.
“I believe I can go faster at state,” commented Fernandes, whose time of 2:12.33 was nearly 11 seconds ahead of the race’s runner-up. “I’ll be more prepared this year. Last year, I was a little intimidated by it.
“This year, I want to score (place in the top 16) at state. That’s my goal.”
Johnson, Fernandes’ teammate and a fellow senior, surged ahead of the field after the first 25 meters and never looked back, clocking in at 57.96, 37 seconds better than the previous meet mark and almost five seconds better than the competition.
“I’ve been swimming since sixth grade and this is something I’ve worked toward all of high school, always doing butterfly, always doing freestyle,” said Johnson, who also added she will feel more comfortable at state this go-around. “It feels really good to get a sectional record and go to state knowing that all my hard work has paid off.”
Trimpe was first in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, the latter of which she prevailed in last season. It will be the third state meet appearance for the Dragons’ senior, who also qualified in the 50 freestyle as a sophomore.
“She’s had a phenomenal career. The 50 (freestyle) was a gamble race. I talked to her about the 200 (freestyle) — I felt like she could get under two minutes,” NP coach Steve Maxwell said. “She felt she could too, but she really wanted to swim the 50 where she would swim the 200. So I said, ‘Fine, we’ll give it a try.’”
Trimpe, whose younger sister, Erin, placed second in the 100 breaststroke, is thrilled to end her career with yet another state appearance.
“I’m excited to go again — I really want to make top 16. I know how it feels to be there and swim in that pool and everything,” she said. “I’m excited to do better than I have in the past.”
In the diving portion, Richmond’s Mariam Khamis took home the blue ribbon with a score of 415.70.
McKinney was fourth, meaning the junior will vie for a berth in the state meet today at the Plainfield diving regional. The top eight place-winners at Plainfield move on to the diving section of the state competition, which begins Saturday morning.
As for the sectional team competition, it was déjà vu all over again.
Entering the 400 freestyle relay, the final event of the day, Mt. Vernon led Connersville 320-316.
A season ago, the Marauders were the exact same position, except they were ahead by 14 and needed to finish fifth — which they did — to clinch the title by two points.
This time around, MV had to beat the Spartans’ top-seeded 400 relay squad to secure its fourth sectional championship in the past five seasons.
Connersville rose to the occasion, not only placing first, but smashing the sectional record by nearly five seconds — one of three meet records for the Spartans on the day — while the Marauders took third.
Paxtyn and Riece Drew of Connersville each contributed two individual and two relay wins, part of a Spartan squad that triumphed in seven of the 12 events.
Paxtyn also broke the sectional benchmark in the 100 backstroke while Riece did the same by anchoring the 200 freestyle relay.
Mt. Vernon entered Saturday without a No. 1 seed, relying on its depth to fight for the crown.
“We knew that it was going to be an uphill battle coming into today. Coming into Thursday, we had 26 points to make up,” said first-year MV coach Tom Shaver. “We had positioned ourselves well coming into today and brought it down a 16-point spread.”
After Emily Logan left for Greenfield-Central in June, Shaver, the longtime Mt. Vernon boys coach, took over the girls squad on an interim basis in September.
“I told the girls last week that last year at this time I never would’ve imagined I would be here coaching girls swimming because I had no idea Emily was going to be taking off,” he said. “But I really enjoyed the season. I learned a lot training-wise.”
Post-meet, the theme was one of reflection on a day of broken records and start-to-finish enthusiasm.
“It was exciting to see the meet come down to the last race,” explained Maxwell. “I love meets like that because it keeps everyone involved. Everyone’s invested.”
Notes: The event seeds for Friday’s state swimming prelims were released Monday: Fernandes is No. 28 in the 100 breaststroke; Johnson is No. 18 in the 100 butterfly; Trimpe is No. 26 in the 50 freestyle and No. 28 in the breaststroke. … Maxwell said his team had 89 percent season-best times at Thursday’s sectional prelims and that only two swims on Saturday were slower than Thursday. … Perhaps foreshadowing the Super Bowl blackout, the scoreboard at New Palestine briefly lost power Saturday, causing about a 10-minute delay. … The boys sectional meet is Feb. 16 at NP. Greenfield-Central is gunning for its third straight championship.
Girls Sectional Swimming Championships. Saturday at New Palestine.
1. Connersville 356
2. Mt. Vernon 352
3. New Palestine 312
4. Greenfield-Central 293
5. Richmond 285
6. New Castle 243
7. Centerville 163
8. Hagerstown 71
9. Eastern Hancock 55
10. Rushville 46
200 Yard Medley Relay
1. Connersville 1:52.46*
2. Greenfield-Central 1:55.56
3. New Palestine 1:57.86
200 Yard Freestyle
1. Riece Drew, Connersville, 2:00.33
2. Gloria Gonzales, Mt. Vernon, 2:03.94
3. Taylor Young, Greenfield-Central, 2:07.77
200 Yard Individual Medley
1. Carly Fernandes, Greenfield-Central, 2:12.33*
2. Haley Moore, Mt. Vernon, 2:23.30
3. Olivia Shannon, Mt. Vernon, 2:23.74
50 Yard Freestyle
1. Emily Trimpe, New Palestine, 24.84
2. Bailie Weiler, Connersville, 25.05
3. Taylor Johnson, Greenfield-Central, 25.06
1. Mariam Khamis, Richmond, 415.70
2. Megan Millikan, New Castle, 329.10
3. Beka Elza, Hagerstown, 320.30
4. Emily McKinney, Mt. Vernon, 303.90
100 Yard Butterfly
1. Taylor Johnson, Greenfield-Central, 57.96*
2. Maddie Powell, Mt. Vernon, 1:02.53
3. Terri Holcomb, Centerville, 1:03.19
100 Yard Freestyle
1. Paxtyn Drew, Connersville, 53.96
2. Bailie Weiler, Connersville, 55.43
3. Gloria Gonzales, Mt. Vernon, 56.90
500 Yard Freestyle
1. Riece Drew, Connersville, 5:29.53
2. Taylor Young, Greenfield-Central, 5:41.22
3. Caitlin Becraft, New Castle, 5:41.39
200 Yard Freestyle Relay
1. Connersville 1:43.05
2. Mt. Vernon 1:44.69
3. New Palestine 1:44.77
100 Yard Backstroke
1. Paxtyn Drew, Connersville, 59.04*
2. Carly Fernandes, Greenfield-Central, 59.95
3. Hannah Hawrot, New Castle, 1:05.54
100 Yard Breaststroke
1. Emily Trimpe, New Palestine, 1:08.47
2. Erin Trimpe, New Palestine, 1:11.03
3. Baylee Miller, Connersville, 1:11.43
400 Yard Freestyle Relay
1. Connersville 3:41.99*
2. Greenfield-Central 3:49.36
3. Mt. Vernon 3:51.03
*New sectional record
**Top four advance to diving regional today at Plainfield