WARSAW – There wasn’t a lot of time to adjust, and it showed in the finals of the Warsaw Boys Swimming Sectional Saturday afternoon. Of the 11 events swam Friday night in the prelims, all 11 top seeds won sectional titles Saturday. Among them, Warsaw won seven event titles and continued on with its eighth straight sectional title in a landslide team win.
Five meet records were achieved Saturday in what was a fast meet from the champions. Warsaw claimed four of those records, with back-to-back elite swims in the medley relay by Jayden Parrett, Spencer Davidson, Ethan Cook and Matt Wildman (1:36.46) and the 200 free by Parrett (1:44.63). The same quartet from the medley also set the sectional and school records in the 200 free relay at 1:28.18 and Davidson blew away the field in the breaststroke at 56.96, lowering his sectional record by over three seconds.
Culver Academy’s Grant Ralston, who surprised the crowd Friday night by besting Davidson in the 50 free prelims, held his ground Saturday in edging the Tiger senior 21.54 to 21.85. Ralston, who set the 50 sectional record, also came back to win the 100 free at 48.01.
“I was a little worried, I was hoping to see some better times out of them,” began Warsaw head coach Tony DeBrota as he sat drenched on the diving pool deck after the team plunge following the title announcement. “Some of these guys going to state didn’t taper, including the relays. That’s probably my fault.
“This is something where we might have jumped the gun a little looking forward to state, and you have to live in the now. I think that’s where you saw some of the other teams take titles we thought we had in the bag.”
Parrett added a fourth title in the backstroke, but nearly avoided a bittersweet disaster. Parrett, the three-time sectional champion in the event, didn’t look sharp in the final while teammate Josh Miller, one lane over, did. Miller actually had a slight lead in the event heading into the 75-yard mark, but Parrett jumped off the last wall with a slight lead and held on for a 53.17 championship to Miller’s 53.59. A stunned Warsaw crowd sat almost silent as the race ended, not sure whether to cheer or question.
“I was very nervous in that backstroke,” DeBrota said, noting Parrett had felt ill during the meet. “I know both Jayden and Josh were pretty bummed about the race. We’re hoping that Josh’s time will still make it (to state as an at-large), but we were also hoping that the two would push each other and get the state qualifier. That didn’t happen, so we’ll have to wait and see on that.”
Miller would punch his guaranteed ticket to state in the butterfly with a 54.10 winner and teammate Zach Taylor won the individual medley at 2:01.97.
Rochester claimed the other two swim titles, winning the 400 free relay at 3:19.31 and Zebra Eli Pugh held off Warsaw’s Hudson Snyder in the 500 to win at 4:58.22, just .71 faster than the Tiger sophomore.
Cass’ Toby McGehee was the clear-cut top diver at Warsaw, scoring a 489.50 to begin his quest to the state finals. Warsaw’s diving trio of Tyler Paseka, Liam McCarrick and Nick Bell finished two through four and will also head to regionals Tuesday at Mishawaka. Tippecanoe Valley diver Tom Solano was fifth.
Tyler Ross was the only swimmer to represent Valley in a swim final, taking fourth in the 50 free at 23.69.
Warsaw won the team title with 525 points, well ahead of runner-up Culver Academy at 372 points. Rochester was third (259), followed by Huntington North (223), Columbia City (211), Cass (148), Logansport (102), Wabash (89), Manchester (82), Tippecanoe Valley (76), Pioneer (74) and Plymouth (55).