WARSAW – The Tippecanoe Valley Viking swim team took to the pool on Thursday night with hopes of making some waves in the prelims of the Warsaw Sectional at the Warsaw Community Pool.
The day went about as well as the team expected. The team made up of all senior swimmers knows that Saturday’s finals will be the inevitable end to their four year career at Valley, but that didn’t stop the team from going hard at Thursday’s prelims.
The Vikings swam their way into five events for Saturday, but just two finals. Despite the limited amount of finalists for Saturday, Valley head coach Buddy Busby focused on the positives for his team.
“We did have some good times today,” said Busby. “We did not have enough of them, but there were still some good times for us today. We had good times in the 200 free relay and finished in the top eight in that event. Overall I felt like our kids did pretty well.”
In the 200 free relay, Valley’s team made up of Noah Clampitt, Tanner Neeley, Brandon Maull and Tom Alexander came in with a seed time of 1:47.92. The team managed to beat that time and earn a spot in Saturday’s finals with a time of 1:44.99.
The Vikings 400 relay team made up of Maull, Neeley, Alexander and Clampitt will participate in the consoles on Saturday after finishing ninth with a time of 4:05.45, narrowly getting edged by Wabash (4:05.41) for the last spot in the finals.
Clampitt managed to qualify for Saturday’s consoles in the 200 free after clocking in with the event’s 10th best time, 2:06.37.
Alexander was the only other Viking to grab an individual ticket to Saturday’s meet, but Alexander was able to grab himself a spot in the finals for the 100 fly. The senior edged out Culver Academies’ Cory Andrzejewski (1:03.94) to claim the seventh best time on Thursday with a 1:03.77.
“Tom (Alexander) had a pretty good day,” Busby stated. “We would’ve liked to have seen better times from him in the 500 free and on one of the relays, but he swam very well in the 100 fly to earn a top eight spot.”
While Alexander’s time is well off the State qualifying time of 52.30, that does not stop the senior from remaining positive for what could be his final meet.
“I’ve been working hard, we all have,” stated Alexander. “That’s really all we can do. We’ve been coming in, working hard and staying focused. This is our last chance, we’re not going to get it back. I’m ready to come out and go hard on Saturday. I don’t want to regret anything when my high school career is over.”
Alexander is one of six seniors, and following the dismissal of the only underclassmen swimmer due to grades, that is all the program has to work with for the time being.
“My time here has meant a lot to me,” Alexander said. “Coach Busby has really taught me a lot. He’s taught me moralities and the value of working hard. Slacking and cutting practices isn’t going to get you anywhere. He’s taught me a lot of life lessons.”
The sentiment seems to go both ways as Busby also expressed some kind thoughts about his senior class.
“I’ve had all these kids from the get-go and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” Busby said with a smile. “They’ve been good kids, they’re good students and they work pretty hard. I’ve been very pleased with this group of kids.”
The four year journey that the class of 2014 has had will most likely come to an end on Saturday afternoon, but it is clear to see that the class has created a great bond in its time at Tippecanoe Valley.
Saturday’s swim finals begin at 1 p.m. at Warsaw High School.