INDIANAPOLIS — In a season filled with emotion and more meaning than most, the Greenfield-Central girls swimming team just did what they’re accustomed to.
On Friday night in the IHSAA Girls Swimming and Diving State Finals prelims at the IU Natatorium, the Cougars improved on seed times, advanced swimmers to the consolation finals and advanced their first event to a podium finish in the 12 years under head coach Emily Logan.
With Logan watching from home as she battles cancer, her team wanted to make sure this year’s meet was a special one.
“The whole time I was swimming, I just kept thinking I’m doing it for her, I’m doing it for her,” G-C junior Rachel Stutz said. “I think that really pushed me to my limit today.”
G-C competed in nine of the 11 events and sent five events through to today. The Cougars will have swimmers in the consolation finals of the 200-yard individual medley, the 100 freestyle, the 100 breaststroke and the 400 freestyle relay. G-C’s 200 free relay team will compete in today’s finals after a top-eight placement.
While every event is important at the state finals, for the Cougars, a special emphasis was put on the 200-yard freestyle relay.
A podium finish has been eluding the team in recent years. Last year Norah Johnson placed 11th and 12th individually in the prelims, while G-C’s 200 medley relay placed 11th and the 200 free relay placed 12th.
With everybody returning other than Johnson on the 200 free relay team, a podium finish has been one of the Cougars top season goals.
“Coach Emily has been talking with this team about getting top eight for a long time. I’ve been hearing about those relays getting a podium finish since this summer. She was texting with me during the meet and watching on the live stream, so to do that was really important for us,” coach Ben Felver said. “I think you kind of saw a weight lifted off of them after that race.”
The team of Alyssa Osborn, Stutz, Selah Vahle and Cece Duffy Johnson placed sixth with a time of 1:37.67.
“Our team has worked so hard and knowing that the work that we’ve put into practices and all the time we’ve spent this season, knowing that we’re going to be top eight has been a dream,” Osborn said. “We’ve thought about it all season, so finally getting that is a big accomplishment for our team.”
The same four nearly secured a second podium finish in the final event of the night.
In the 400 free relay, the Cougars shaved 1.7 seconds off of their seed time and broke the school record they set at last week’s sectional with a time of 3:31.59.
The swim earned them a ninth-place finish and was less than a second off of Concord’s time of 3:30.90 for the final top-eight spot.
Having big nights for the Cougars outside of the relays was a pair of swimmers with previous state finals experience — Osborn and Stutz.
Along with the two relays, Osborn advanced in both of her individual events.
“She swam really well, and she has a very quick turnaround between those relays and breaststroke,” Felver said. “We trained it and swam it all year that way. We’re really proud of the way she handled that transition.”
In a near repeat of her performance last season in the 200 IM, Osborn came into the event seeded 20th and jumped up nine spots to place 11th and advance to today’s consolation finals. Her time of 2:06.69 was over two seconds better than her seed time of 2:08.97 and broke the school record of 2:06.89 that she set last season.
“The environment here is so much different than sectional. At sectional you have all these regular teams that we go against all season. Coming here and seeing all of these different teams really pushes me,” Osborn said. “Seeing people that I don’t know makes me think that I need to go faster because I don’t know how they’re going to do.”
In her other individual event, the 100 breaststroke, she placed 12th with a swim of 1:04.93.
“I’ve kind of had a rough time this season getting through everything that I’ve been through, so being able to come here and see what I’ve been working on all season pay off makes me feel like I really accomplished something,” Osborn said.
For Stutz, she started off the night with a disappointing swim in the 50 free. She fell eight spots from her 12th-place seed to finish 20th.
But she responded in a big way.
In the 100 free she placed 13th with a time of 52.49 seconds and was part of both advancing relay teams.
“It means a lot. Obviously, I wanted to do it for coach Emily,” Stutz said. “I started the meet off a little rough in the 50, but I took that and kind of put my energy into everything else. I’m just happy that we’re going to be on that podium tomorrow.”
In the remaining events, the 200 medley relay team of Caroline Felver, Sonja Jahrsdoerfer, Taylor Parsons and Josie Kinnaman placed 26th, Parsons placed 17th in the 100 butterfly, Vahle placed 21st in the 100 free, and Jahrsdoerfer placed 23rd in the 100 breaststroke.
The two relays, Osborn and Stutz will be back to compete in today’s finals beginning at 1 p.m. New Palestine’s Isabelle Tull will take part in the diving competition.