SYRACUSE — It was a perfect storm.
It had been a while since the Wawasee boys swim team had won its home invite and the boys and girls teams had never won their invites in the same season under head coach Julie Robinson, but that would change Saturday afternoon. While the girls ran away with their meet, the boys were in a dog fight with Rochester and South Bend St. Joe right up until the final event. The Warriors took a lead into the 400 free and would take second to help clinch their invite win.
Wawasee by far performed the best it had all season with a flurry of swimmers and divers hitting season or lifetime bests along the way. It was the first time the young team went out and truly grasped the mentality of racing over simply swimming, something head coach Julie Robinson has stressed.
“We had so many lifetime and season bests today, it was just incredible,” said Robinson. “We’ve been talking to both the boys and girls teams all year about just coming out and racing in each event. They all did such an amazing job with that today.”
Wawasee was solid from the start in the pool taking second behind St. Joe (1:47.48) with the 200 medley relay team, made up of Jared Krugman, Brady Robinson, Jake Cowan and Logan Brugh, clocking in at 1:49.41.
Robinson and Brugh helped to anchor the 400 free at the end of the day, which also took second (3:34.32), and would win Wawasee’s only individual events on the day.
Robinson won the 200 IM (2:00.94) and the 100 back (56.66) to help him be voted as the Outstanding Performer for the boys meet. Both times were season bests for the sophomore.
“Brady’s IM time was right off his lifetime best,” Robinson said of her son. “He’s right at that 2:00 mark right now and he’s really excited with that. His lifetime best in the 100 back is a 54 and that’s tapered, he had a 56 today. So, who knows where we’ll have him at conference and sectionals because he is doing very well in both the back and 100 breast.”
Brugh took first in the 500 free (4:55.57) and would claim second in the 200 free (1:48.88). Eli Pugh of Rochester edged out Brugh in the 200 free with his time of 1:48.24.
One swimmer that has quietly had a good season is Eric Park and that continued Saturday. Park hit a lifetime best in the 50 free (27.08) and provided a great performance for the B relay team in 200 free.
“Eric really had a great day,” Robinson remarked. “He’s come a long way. He’s been working that 50 free and had some great times today. It’s been neat to watch him because every time he hits the water he’s getting faster, but not by a tenth or a hundredth, it’s by a half second each time.”
Aaron Troutman shaved 13 seconds off of his 500 free time to highlight a list of lifetime best from Wawasee that included Krugman, Isaiah Metcalf, Jake Cowan and a season best from Owen Donahoe.
In the diving portion of the invite all three of Wawasee’s divers had lifetime best scores. Austin Dunithan (175.60) led the way by placing third. Hunter Hlutke (135.95) and Brady Claassen (124.85) rounded out the dive squad scores.
“Now that this excitement has started to build I think it will be infectious,” remarked an overjoyed Robinson. “If you do well in practice it carries over to the meet. So when you do it in a meet it brings it into practice. So, as the kids continue to race each other they get faster in the meets. It’s just a snowball effect as they continue to get better and better.”