WARSAW – The Tippecanoe Valley Vikings girls swim team came into the 2013-14 season with a lot of youth and inexperience. That became even more apparent on Thursday night in the sectional prelims held at Warsaw Community High School.
The young Vikings team exceeded some expectations by qualifying swimmers in seven of Thursday’s 11 events. Only one of those qualifying spots will be a top-eight seed on Saturday morning, but the Vikings are happy knowing they didn’t leave anything on the table in the prelims.
“For the most part, we equaled our seed times,” said Viking head coach Buddy Busby. “We did a little better than our seed times in some races but we did about how we thought we would today.”
Kate Gunter really stood out for the Vikings in the prelims. The Valley sophomore qualified for sectional finals on two relay teams and in two individual events.
Gunter cut it close in the 200 IM, coming in 16th place to secure a spot for Saturday’s final with a time of 2:42.50. Gunter also qualified for the 100 fly finals, the sophomore’s prelim performance in the event caught the eye of her coach.
“Kate Gunter had a real good 100 butterfly today,” said Busby. “She had a strong finish and got a good time, it was a really good day for her.”
Gunter’s time of 1:10.26 will seed her seventh in Saturday’s final. The seeding is the highest for any of Valley’s finalists.
The Vikings 200 medley relay team did not finish in a favorable spot, grabbing just an 11 seed for the finals with a time of 2:33.40, ahead of only Wabash’s 2:41.57.
Valley’s 200 free relay team made up of Joy Hurd, Sydney Schaeffer, Sara Jones and Kate Gunter, fared better by coming in ninth with a time of 2:02.38. Hurd, Schaeffer, Gunter joined with Alaina O’Connell in the 400 free relay and would claim another nine seed for Valley with a time of 4:37.53.
Schaeffer also qualified for Saturday’s finals as an individual in the 50 free with a time of 28.72. Schaeffer will be seeded tenth in the event.
Jones also managed to slip into an individual event on Saturday with her performance in the 100 back. The junior placed 16th in the event with her time of 1:18.04.
While Thursday night could have gone better for Valley, the day could have been much worse. For now, meeting expectations is just fine for Busby and his team.
“I was pleased with the way they swam today,” said the charismatic Busby. “Hopefully we can do a little better on Saturday.”
Whitko’s Emily Moseley qualified for the finals in her one and only event, the 100 breast, with a time of 1:20.68.
Sectional finals start at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Warsaw Community High School. Diving prelims start at 9 a.m.