NEW PALESTINE — With eight top seeds, including all three relays, and six other No. 2 seeds, the Greenfield-Central girls swimming team seems to be on the way to a ninth straight sectional championship.
Greenfield-Central and 10 other schools are scheduled to compete today and Saturday at the New Palestine Girls Swimming and Diving Sectional.
G-C will be joined by fellow Hancock County schools, host New Palestine, Eastern Hancock and Mt. Vernon, along with Centerville, Connersville, Hagerstown, New Castle, Richmond, Seton Catholic and Shelbyville.
“The girls have all done a great job this season and looked to have placed themselves well at this point, in seeding, to have another amazing sectional,” Greenfield-Central coach Emily Logan said.
Along with team supremacy on the line, all swimmers and divers are looking to advance to the IHSAA state finals to be held Feb. 11-12 at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.
Greenfield-Central junior Norah Johnson is seeking titles again in both the 100-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke. She placed 13th in the state breaststroke competition a year ago.
Junior Mary Ellen Stratman is back to defend her 100 butterfly title. She is also seeking to be an individual champion for a third straight year. She won the 200 IM as a freshman.
The Cougars also return the majority of their winning teams from last year’s victorious 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay squads.
“Mary Ellen and Norah have both gone (to state) multiple times as individuals and I’m hoping for them that that continues,” Logan said. “We’ve got some young pups that are coming up that could definitely make a big splash this weekend. I’m hoping for them they have a really great meet and get that first individual experience at the state level.
“We’re also excited about our relays and to get those along to the state level and have that Saturday swim and place down at state.”
G-C’s Johnson comes in as the top seed in both the 100 freestyle (55.48 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.07). Stratman is the No. 1 seed in the 100 butterfly (1:00.10).
A couple of the “young pups” Logan mentioned are Cougar frosh Alyssa Osborn, the top seed in the 200 IM (2:14.18), and sophomore Cecelia Duffy-Johnson, who brings in the top time in the 200 freestyle (2:02.14).
All three Cougar relay teams (200 IM – 1:51.04, 200 freestyle – 1:45.39, 400 freestyle – 3:44.09) are top ranked.
The 12 event champions from a year ago all return.
Along with the G-C winners returning champions are Centerville’s Erica Lucas (1-meter diving, 100 backstroke), Shelbyville’s Karissa Hamilton (50 freestyle) and the Golden Bears 200 freestyle relay team, New Castle’s Lylah Hutson (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle) and Seton Catholic’s Josey Meeks (200 IM).
No. 2 seeds for the Cougars include, senior Elizabeth Coleman (200 IM), freshman Rachel Stutz (50 freestyle), senior Ariel Niemeier (500 freestyle), Duffy-Johnson (100 freestyle), Stratman (100 backstroke) and Osborn (100 breaststroke).
The top individual seeds from other county schools include, Eastern Hancock’s Sophia Dolence (No. 9, 100 backstroke), Mt. Vernon’s Annelise Hiner (No. 3 in both 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle) and New Palestine’s Katelyn Trimpe (No. 4 in both 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle).
In relays, the Royals are No. 8 in the 200 freestyle. The Marauders are No. 3 in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle and the Dragons are No. 4 in the 200 freestyle.
Due to the inclement weather, preliminary races, originally scheduled for Thursday, are scheduled to go today at 5:30 p.m. in the New Palestine Natatorium.
Diving, consolations and finals are slated to begin Saturday at 9 a.m.
First place sectional winners in each event qualify for the state meet plus any swimmer who equals or betters the state time standard in their respective event in the consolation or championship finals. The state standard may not be achieved by a swimmer competing in the first leg of a relay.
Additionally, the next fastest number of contestants in the state that would bring the total number of state meet entrants to 32 in each event will qualify. In the event of a tie for the 32nd spot, both swimmers advance.
There are 2o sectionals.
In sectional diving, first through fourth place will qualify for the Plainfield Diving Regional scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8, where the top 8 will move on to the state meet.