The Warsaw and Northridge boys swim programs have both put together impressive sectional championship streaks.
Expect that trend to continue when postseason action commences Thursday evening with sectional preliminaries.
The host Tigers and the host Raiders will once again be the teams to beat when they hit the home water Thursday and Saturday.
Warsaw has captured six sectional trophies in a row. The Raiders own a sectional title streak of 11 straight crowns.
Both will be heavy, heavy favorites again to extend those championship runs.
Warsaw headlines the field for its own 13-team field. Coach Nate Long’s Tigers piled up 498.5 points a year ago to top runner-up Culver Academies (439.5).
The Tigers have had plenty of time to rest and prepare since taking a second-place finish (to champion Northridge) in the weather-delayed Northern Lakes Conference Meet Feb. 3. Northridge won the NLC title with 516 points, while Warsaw totaled 407.
Warsaw will be led by its dynamic duo of Spencer Davidson and Jayden Parrett. The pair of juniors each won a pair of events at the NLC Meet with Davidson taking the 100 breaststroke in record time and the 50 freestyle and Parrett claiming top honors in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle.
The Tigers claimed seven events in last year’s sectional title. Davidson won the 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly with Parrett taking the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Sophomore Zach Taylor won the 200 individual medley and Warsaw won the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay events too.
Warsaw will also rely on Ethan Coook, Josh Miller, Matt Wildman and J.D. French.
Long expects his team to excel in their home pool in preparation for the State Finals.
“Going into sectionals the boys have done a good job of keeping their minds set on what they need to do this weekend,” said Long. “Although we have several events ranked well for state this year, the first goal is doing well on Thursday, and then coming back on Saturday and swimming well. You cannot go to State Finals if you aren’t doing what needs to be done first at sectionals.”
“Our number one goal for sectional is having every swimmer doing their absolute best,” added Long. “If everyone goes a best time I cannot ask any more out of my swimmers. I would like to see our top guys compete to win their events at sectionals and put themselves in a position to compete down in Indianapolis.”
Long also believes that the regular season has his team ready for a sectional that it should dominate.
“I think we have faced several teams this year who have helped us prepare well for State,” Long remarked. “We have faced #4 Penn, #13 Homestead, #10 Northridge (twice), and #9 Fort Wayne Carroll. Our sectional is just like any other sectional in the state, it is the first step in the state competition. In order to do well at state we must first do well at sectionals.”
Wawasee will be one of the 10 teams in the Northridge Sectional. The Warriors are coming off a fourth-place finish at the NLC Meet. Sophomore Logan Brugh led the Warriors with a school record performance in the 500 freestyle at the conference meet.
The field at Warsaw includes Cass, Columbia City, Culver Academies, Huntington North, Logansport, Manchester, Pioneer, Plymouth, Rochester, Tippecanoe Valley and Wabash.
The Northridge Sectional features the No. 10-ranked hosts, along with Angola, Concord, DeKalb, East Noble, Elkhart Central, Elkhart Memorial, Goshen, NorthWood and Wawasee.
Action is slated to begin on Thursday at Warsaw and Northridge with preliminaries at 5:30 p.m. The diving prelims will take place Saturday at 9 a.m. with the finals in all events starting at 1 p.m.
The sectional champion in each event along with anyone who equals or betters the state standard qualifying times advance to the State Finals Feb. 28 and March 1 at the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis.
The top four divers at both the Warsaw and Northridge sectional sites advance to the Penn Regional on Feb. 25 to try and earn a spot at the State Finals.