By Brady Extin | Daily Reporter
GREENFIELD — Hoosier Heritage Conference winner, sectional winner, state placements and four school records broken. You name it, and the Greenfield-Central girls swim team accomplished it last season.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, coach Emily Logan’s team has their sights set on repeating all of that, and adding to it.
“The girls always have some big goals coming in. Last year one of our big things was to get a relay to place at state, and they did that, and for our girls to make it back to the state finals. I would definitely say that our goals for this season are all of that, and maybe more,” Logan said. “They’re a great group of kids all around, so just keeping that fun love of the sport as they’re going through and accomplishing some great things all season long is kind of their attitude and mentality.”
HHC dominance and sectional championships are nothing new to the Cougars. Last year’s conference championship was their fifth in seven years, while their sectional championship was their ninth consecutive title.
A big milestone heading into this season will be for the girls to capture that 10th straight sectional championship.
“They would, of course, love to win the number 10 for sectionals,” Logan said. “That would be another big accomplishment for them overall.”
With all those lofty goals ahead of them, Logan knows that the Cougars need strong leadership at the top.
She has just that, starting with the return of both Norah Johnson and Mary Ellen Stratman.
Now seniors, both Johnson and Stratman have competed in the state finals all three seasons of their high school careers. Last year, Johnson placed 16th in the breaststroke while breaking a 24-year-old school record, and Stratman placed 27th in the butterfly. Both girls were also part of the Cougars 200 medley, and 400 free relay teams that broke school records while placing 14th and 18th.
“They have been there and done that at the big meets. They are incredibly poised and focused when we get there, and they share that. They’re not the kind of athletes that keep it all to themselves,” Logan said “They share that experience with the others, and they kind of show the team that here’s how we conduct ourselves, here’s how we get ourselves ready, this is what it should look like, and this is how it should feel. They are great at sharing all those things with the younger kids below them, and I think that has shown already.”
As successful as the pair has been in the pool, it’s that ability to lead that has been so important to the Greenfield-Central program.
“Those two are incredible leaders and incredible teammates. I think at times you can have kids who can lead well or lead themselves well, but sometimes they aren’t always team minded. Those girls are both of those things,” Logan said.
“You’ve got Alyssa [Osborn] and Rachel [Stutz] who got to come along with that crew to state last year and honestly, they shined. That’s part of what they have given back to them. They show them that you can go, you can have confidence, and you can do well. They do a phenomenal job with that. What they have fed into everybody below them has been huge, and that is their legacy.”
Osborn and Stutz were the final two members of the 200 medley and 400 free relay teams, along with Johnson and Stratman. That experience last season as freshmen has them ready to take the next step in their sophomore seasons.
“I think it was huge for them. They’ve both been in club swimming for quite a while, so they’ve both had big meet experience with group state on our club side, but that’s not quite the same as the high school state meet. It’s a whole different beast,” Logan said. “Getting that first year under their belt and having that success as freshmen and to be a part of all of that was huge. For them, it’s just going to continue to build.”
While those four return to anchor the Greenfield-Central roster, for Logan, having a deep team is just as important.
Senior Reagan Crouch and junior Cecelia Duffy-Johnson return with state experience as members of the 200 freestyle relay team.
The Cougars also bring in freshmen Emma Flynn for butterfly, Sonja Jahrsdoerfer for breaststroke, Selah Vahle for breaststroke and freestyle, and Ashyln Devlin for backstroke.
“We have several freshman girls coming in that will add to our team. They will add that big team depth that is very important to us,” Logan said. “We love that they all can contribute and take part in the team’s success.”