INDIANAPOLIS – If one word could be used to describe the day that was the IHSAA Girls Swimming State Finals – or even the weekend as a whole – it would be ‘unbelievable.’
In what was the fastest state finals in girls swimming history, 18 records in total were set in 10 different events and Carmel inched closer to a national record in winning its 28th consecutive team title, blowing away the field with 399 points to runner-up Crown Point’s very respectable 209 points. Penn were fourth at 166, Wawasee 15th at 43, Warsaw tied with Richmond and Avon with 11 points and Northridge concluded with three team points.
But the day was not about team figures in the least unless the Carmel relay teams counted, where they broke the state mark in all three relays. Carmel’s team, however, moved within one title of the famed Honolulu Punahou boys swimming program’s national record of 29 consecutive titles from 1958-86.
Instead, individual races were the spotlight. And for Wawasee’s Bre Robinson, she would factor in a pair of the state record marks.
Robinson’s first go-round was in the butterfly, and was ushered onto the deck by big sister, Brittany, who entering the afternoon was the state record holder with her 53.41 set in 2012. Well, that number would disappear in 52.70 seconds as Crown Point’s Aly Tetzloff turned on a second gear in the final 25 yards to pull away from Bre and Chesterton’s Vanessa Krause for the record win. Bre would finish with a 53.77, a lifetime best, and Krause would turn in at 53.84.
“When I found out (Brittany) was walking us out, I cried in the corner,” admitted Bre about the butterfly, but also gave props to her friend, Tetzloff, for swimming a great race. “It was great to have that. I’m trying not to cry right now!
“There were so many good swimmers here today, and to be a part of it all is amazing. I’m so happy for everyone. Everyone did great.”
Robinson’s second crack at a title would see her swim another lifetime best – and lower her school record – in the backstroke but fall to another state record. Carmel’s Claire Adams, who needed to make up ground after Robinson led the first 50 yards, put together an all-time performance. Winning at 52.97, Adams’ time was announced over the loudspeakers as the second-fastest time in the nation. Robinson still posted a 53.96, and admitted there was no disappointment in how the backstroke unfolded.
“Of course I’m not upset, I swam two lifetime bests today and finished second in the state so I am very happy,” Robinson said of her day.
Robinson, Paige Miller, Kendra Miller and Kayla Hershberger closed the day with a 3:34.65 in the 400 free relay, placing 14th overall.
Paige Miller would finish up her freshman season with a pair of consolation swims in the individual medley and the 500 freestyle. Miller would fall slightly off the pace in the IM and place 15th at 2:08.86 and could not find the speed she had shown so many times during the later portion of the season in the 500, failing to reach her sub-five goal in settling with a 5:03.91. Northridge’s Katie Hughes, who provided Miller with several outstanding duals during the season in the 500, finished 14th overall with a time of 5:01.71.
Warsaw’s Brenna Morgan left the state finals with a huge smile on her face, winning the consolation heat of the 100 freestyle in a school-record time of 51.64. Morgan entered the day with the 16th-fastest time of 52.60, but dug deep and hit the wall with a smile a mile wide. Morgan also placed 15th in the 50 freestyle at 24.29.
“The mindset for today was just to go out as fast as I could and whatever happened, happened,” Morgan said. “I just let my team pump me up, they were great. I just worried about what I could do, not what anyone else was doing. I think that really helped me today win (the 100).”
The only other area swimmer to make a Saturday swim was Bremen’s Katie Lafferty, who swam with Morgan in the 50 (24.16) and the 100 (51.78), good for 14th and 11th place overall, respectively.
As for all the state records, here is a rundown. Carmel’s medley relay posted the third-fastest time in the country with its 1:40.83 which it set the state standard Friday night, then went 1:31.37 in the 200 free relay and 3:21.20 in the 400 free relay while Crown Point also broke the standard in the 400 free relay with its 3:22.03.
Adams twice broke the 200 freestyle record, leaving it at 1:46.95 while teammate Amy Bilquist twice broke the 100 free record (48.93) and Friday night set the 50 free record at 22.15 before swimming at 22.17 Saturday.
Penn’s Bethany Galat and Lillia King of Evansville Reitz both broke the old record in the breaststroke, but Galat’s 59.66 to King’s 59.99 got the crown. Galat also won the individual medley in a “pedestrian” 1:57.52.
Alex Cleveland of Zionsville also broke two records Friday night in the 50 and 100 freestyles before Bilquist was able to trump both in later heats of the respective events. Cleveland, who will swim at the University of Tennessee next season, was named after the finals the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award winner.
Even diving had a record go down when Sarah Brown of Indianapolis Ritter erased Mary Beth Dunnichan’s old mark of 544.05 with a 546.45 series achieved Saturday.
The sun sets on a truly unbelievable season that had both Wawasee and Warsaw end droughts with sectional titles and Wawasee run undefeated in the Northern Lakes Conference, winning the round robin and tournament titles.
“This was an amazing year for all the kids, every girl on the team worked so hard,” stated Wawasee head coach Julie Robinson. “This was the finale of it, and they did so well.”
Added Warsaw head coach Nate Long of his team’s season, “This has just been an awesome, awesome year for us. We went above and beyond what I thought we could do coming into the year. To finish up with Saturday swims and having over half the team here, this has been a great thing for us. I’m more than happy with how this season went.”