NEW PALESTINE — A year after winning the program’s first boys swimming and diving sectional title, New Palestine wants more.

The Dragons scored 400 points in last year’s event to lead the 11-team field, but it was missing something.

New Palestine was led by its great depth of talent and did not have an individual champion. The sectional meet was the last of the season for them, while each of the event individual champions moved on to the state finals.

The 2023-24 team wants to keep swimming after this weekend’s New Palestine Sectional.

“They have to have a good mindset. They’ve trained really hard. They’re ready to go and just have to believe in themselves,” New Palestine boys swimming and diving head coach Chris Kingery said of his team. “I have to keep them balanced and not let them get too high or too low. If they go out and perform we’ll do really well.”

New Palestine and fellow Hancock County schools Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon are among the 11 teams competing this week at the New Palestine Natatorium. Other teams in the field include Richmond, Centerville, Shelbyville, New Castle, Connersville, Hagerstown, and Seton Catholic.

Mt. Vernon, Greenfield-Central, Richmond and Hagerstown all had individual champions last year that went on the IHSAA Boys Swimming and Diving State Finals.

Many of those state qualifiers from a year ago have graduated. Hagerstown 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle champion Aaron Turner is the only returning individual champion from last season, though Richmond (200 medley relay) and Mt. Vernon (200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay) have at least one member back from last year’s championship relay teams.

New Palestine is coming off a victory in last month’s Hoosier Heritage Conference meet and went undefeated in dual meets. Again, the Dragons have relied on great depth. They have just one No. 1 seed going into Thursday’s 6 p.m. preliminaries, the 200-yard medley relay team. That relay team won the HHC title last month with the group of Aidan Kingery, Dawson Lynch, Jake Myers and Liam Fuller.

Only two Hancock County individuals are listed as sectional top seeds. Mt. Vernon’s Adison Mayes, who was part of both Marauder championship relay teams last year, has the best time in the 100-yard backstroke at 54.87 seconds. Eastern Hancock’s Gus Upchurch has the best time in 500-yard freestyle at 4:59.85.

Greenfield-Central diver Gabe Hall and swimmer Aiden Michael (100 freestyle) were also HHC individual champions last month along with New Pal’s Aidan Kingery (100 breaststroke). Kingery’s time of 1:03.48 is just .1 behind sectional top-seed Turner.

Richmond has the top seed in the other two relays (200 free, 400 free). Other top seeds include, Richmond’s Greyson Farmer (200 freestyle), and Owen Fowler (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle), Hagerstown’s Turner (200 IM, 100 breaststroke) and Shelbyville’s Will Rife (100 butterfly).

Following Thursday’s prelims, diving prelims start at 9 a.m. Saturday. Finals for swimming and diving will start at 1 p.m. Saturday.