INDIANAPOLIS – The warm and fuzzies of sectional glory has officially worn off. Warsaw has some time to make up this weekend.
The Tigers boys swimmers earned the right to swim another week after barnstorming its own sectional last Saturday, winning nine of the 12 events to punch automatic tickets to the IHSAA Boys Swimming State Finals this weekend at the IUPUI Natatorium. But for a team that wants to prove it belongs, Warsaw swimmers are going to have a lot of work to do to make the second day and a potential podium spot.
Of the nine events in which Warsaw is scheduled to appear, only three of those are currently seeded in the top 20, and the medley relay is 20th. Spencer Davidson’s sectional record 56.90 is just the eighth-fastest time heading into the weekend, and Jayden Parrett’s school record backstroke time of 52.08 sits 11th. Both Davidson and Parrett are in similar situations, trailing the lead time by over two seconds, but right in the mix to make the second day if both can cut a little off the top.
“The medley relay, I know we can cut time on that,” said Warsaw head coach Nate Long. “All four of them can cut time from their sectional swims. Jayden and Matt (Wildman) both said coming out of the event they knew they left a little time in the pool.
“Jayden’s 100 back, he can fly kick under the water and make up time,” Long continued. “He didn’t do that enough at sectionals, and neither did Josh (Miller). We really are emphasizing staying under the water as long as you can. I think Jayden is ready to take on the challenge and he really wants to push for a podium spot. A second off his time will get him there.
“Spencer is in a good position right now. The kid who won it last year (Cody Taylor) won the race by a second, but he was right around 55 seconds. Spencer can shave a little time off his swim, but he should be in a good spot to make the finals.”
The backstroke, led by Chesterton’s Aaron Whitaker at 49.80, will have some local flavor in competition with Parrett, Miller, Rochester’s Steven Newton and Northridge’s Camden Koch all working Friday night. Davidson and the rest of the breaststroke field, including Northridge’s Jon Stoller, are all chasing Columbus North’s Cody Taylor, sitting in front at a blistering 54.55.
Parrett is also scheduled to swim the 100 freestyle, but sits in 26th position right now of the 32 participants with his seed time of 48.00.
Ethan Cook is set to swim two individual events, but has a lot of time to make up in two loaded groups. Cook is seeded 32nd in the 500 (5:00.21) and 33rd in the 200 (1:48.98). Cook noted at sectional his goal in the 500 is simply to gain experience and try to eclipse the five-minute mark, “If I can break five minutes, I’ll be thrilled,” Cook stated. Northridge’s duo of Spencer Lehman and Seth Cripe both will swim the two events, and both are near seed leader Parks Jones of Avon in the events.
Warsaw’s 200 and 400 free relays both are set to swim Friday, but will need tremendous showings if they want to move on. The 200 (1:32.65) is seeded 34th of 34 teams and the 400 (3:17.56) 28th of 32 teams and significantly off the pace of the groups leaders of 1:25.30 and 3:06.13, respectively held by Columbus North and Chesterton. Northridge could make some noise in both events, swimming late heats in the two relays with state comparable times.
Warsaw’s Zachary Taylor also has some ground to make up if advancement is to be had in the individual medley, sitting in 37th of 39 seed times at 2:04.22. Taylor of Columbus North is the current leader at 1:48.99 and the Northridge duo of Koch and Stoller are both active Friday.
The lone non-Warsaw individual to win a swim event at the Warsaw sectional last Saturday, Patrick Kays of Rochester, will swim in the first heat of the 50 and 100 freestyles Friday night.
So will it be experience time Friday night, or is there legitimate ground to make up?
“Don’t get last, basically that’s the goal right now,” Long said. “You gotta beat someone. That’s how we started this week. It’s whatever that we might be last going in, but you have to beat someone. All the kids understand that. I think going to the state finals should bring a little more spark, and who knows, maybe we can go down and shock some people.”
The IHSAA Boys Swimming State Finals begin at 6 p.m. Friday night with preliminary rounds for all 11 swim events. Diving prelims begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, with Northridge’s Taylor Berkey the lone local to advance to state. Swimming and diving finals will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.