FORTVILLE — Winning a championship takes a lot of effort.
Repeating takes more effort.
Repeating without the best swimmer in program history, that takes everything you’ve got.
Mt. Vernon did it.
“(We had) the same team goals, understanding this is what we want to accomplish,” Mt. Vernon head coach Brad Grieshop, the Daily Reporter Boys Swimming Coach of the Year, said. “We had those team goals from the get-go. There’s a lot of talk of how do we make up for points that were lost. We had to look at incoming freshmen, along with kids that were on the team that may not have scored before.”
In 2020-21, coach Grieshop’s Marauders won the program’s first Hoosier Heritage Conference title since 2010. They followed it up with the first sectional championship since 2005.
It was so much fun the first time they did it all again, claiming their second straight conference and sectionals crowns during the 2021-22 season.
They had to do it without a strong class of swimmers that graduated in 2021. Included in that group is Aiden Tierney, who is arguably the best to ever come out of the Marauders pool. He was a 2021 state runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke, an eighth-place finisher in the 100 butterfly and part of the school’s 13th-placed 200 medley relay team.
“It was kind of that quote you hear, ‘Next man up,’” Grieshop added. “Here are our goals, who’s next and where to we all fit as a team to make the team the best it can be?”
At the sectional, the Marauders got multiple individual titles from Co-Daily Reporter Boys Swimming Athletes of the Year, Brady Gray and Matthew Garey, as well as an individual victory from Ethan Murphy. All are juniors. All three were also part of two relay titles.
All returned to the state meet, but as Grieshop mentioned it was more than the first-place finishes that enabled them to celebrate consecutive seasons.
He praised the performances of Brady Youngs and Xander Allen, two juniors that were able to get points for the team in a pair of sectional B finals each.
The Marauders won the HHC title by 13.5 points, beating a strong Delta team that had snapped MV’s unbeaten dual meet streak just two weeks prior.
“To repeat as conference champions by 13.5 points, that was just phenomenal,” Grieshop added. “We knew Delta was going to be a competitive team with us and we were watching Yorktown, as well. When it came to the sectional, we kind of knew we were in a great spot going into the meet.”
They were in a great spot, but when the 200 medley relay team was disqualified in the preliminaries, Grieshop knew they were going to need to grab every point possible to secure the victory.
“(With the disqualification) there was a little bit of adversity right away,” Grieshop said. “Watching the boys step up and earn their spots and earn their second swims at finals, you had to know it was their year and they were driven. They just knew what they had to do.”
In the sectional, Mt. Vernon scored 348 points, well ahead of second-place New Palestine’s 294.
Additionally, the Marauders advanced swimmers in seven events to the state meet. Garey had the top swim, placing-wise, at the state meet, finishing 22nd in the 200 individual medley.