NEW PALESTINE — Mt. Vernon and New Palestine operate under two different philosophies when it comes to preparing for the Hoosier Heritage Conference and sectional meets, the two most important competitions of the swimming season.
But Thursday, both squads approached the contest as if championship were on the line.
The Marauders came way with a sweep, taking the girls meet 96-89 and winning the boys event 114-71 in the same pool that will house the HHC and sectional forays later in the season.
Tom Shaver’s squads continued their successful starts to the 2012-13 campaign. The girls are now 6-0, while the boys — a team that has just three seniors — moved to 4-2.
After Tuesday’s meet versus Greenfield-Central, Shaver explained how his coaching style centered on MV’s swimmers being fit to compete in any event.
The wide-ranging data Shaver gains from that practice provides him with a scientific way to set his HHC and sectional lineup, which is what he did for his team’s second match against a Hancock County team this week.
“Since we do swim conference and sectional here and now that I’m sort of getting our sectional lineup in order, our swimmers get a chance to practice their events in this pool,” he explained. “Plus the New Pal girls are strong, so we needed a full lineup to beat them.”
NP coach Steve Maxwell said he has a good handle on who his No. 1 and No. 2 swimmers are in each race, but noted the Dragons have not put much effort into the conference meet under his watch.
“We use it to see how we’re going to put our sectional lineup together,” Maxwell said of the HHC competition. “Kids that are on the bubble, the third and fourth kids, they’ll swim conference because we need to see them in a stressful environment to see how they perform, and then I can determine our sectional lineup.
“So, our performance at conference probably won’t be reflective of what we’ll do in February.”
The conference meet will be held on Jan. 10 and Jan. 12. The girls sectional is scheduled for Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, with the boys meet slated for Feb. 14 and 16.
The girls portion of Thursday’s gathering was not decided until the final race, when the Marauders claimed the 400 freestyle relay to level the overall win total between the teams at six apiece.
Earlier in the day, Maxwell told his girls he believed the meet would be decided by single digits.
“I thought it would be closer to four points,” Maxwell said of the girls’ seven-point margin. “But it was going to be that kind of meet. It was going to be a real test.”
Emily Trimpe was a four-event winner for the Dragons, triumphing in the 200 individual medley (her time of 2:21.19 was .56 off the school record), 100 freestyle and racing with the victorious 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
Other NP winners were Erin Trimpe in the 100 breaststroke (ninth-fastest in school history), Addison Virt in the 50 freestyle, the 200 medley relay team of Lily Horn, Erin Trimpe, Virt and Emily Trimpe and the 200 free relay team of Emily Trimpe, Virt, Rachel Wineman and Katie Mustard.
For Mt. Vernon, Gloria Gonzales (200, 500 freestyle) prevailed in two individual races, with Emily McKinney (diving), Maddie Powell (100 butterfly), Jessica Hantz (100 backstroke) and the 400 freestyle relay (Haley Moore, Jessica Blackburn, Powell, Gonzales) also tallying first-place finishes.
Both coaches acknowledged that the boys score was a bit lopsided because of the numbers discrepancy. MV brought 21 swimmers, and though NP’s roster lists its boys team with 16 swimmers, three were unavailable Thursday.
Maxwell said the Dragons have their smallest boys team in a decade, but delivered a solid showing Thursday.
“We had some big drops (in times). It’s encouraging,” Maxwell offered. “The frustration is not being able to match numbers, but performance-wise I thought we did pretty well.
“The boys know it isn’t making it any easier for them, but they understand the rationale to it. Living it is a different story.”
Shaver said that Mt. Vernon posted 72 season-best times between his teams Tuesday night, but that his group was a “little flat across the board” Thursday.
The Marauders managed to garner wins in nine of the 12 boys races.
Dixon Tierney (200, 500 freestyle, 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay) and Brisco Wood (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay) each racked up four victories.
Colin Harrison (50 freestyle), Zach Ball (diving) and Cole Case (100 backstroke) won, in addition to the 200 medley relay (Case, Wood, Tierney, Harrison) and 400 freestyle relay (Brandon Lindman, Wood, Case, Tierney).
NP victors were Luke Steigerwalt (100 butterfly, sixth-fastest time in NP history), Grant Gish (100 freestyle) and the 200 freestyle relay team of Gish, Steigerwalt, Chris Dodd and Will Coleman.
The two clubs won’t see each other again until the HHC meet.
“I thought it was a very good meet and it’s exactly what we thought would happen,” Maxwell explained. “In fact, I thought for the boys, we did better than I thought we would.”