WARSAW – Originally, it wasn’t supposed to feel like a tournament. Well, the swim meet at Warsaw Wednesday night kind of became one.
At first scheduled as a triangle between Warsaw, Tippecanoe Valley and Huntington North, the meet had Rochester join late in a reschedule, which made the meet a mini-invite of sorts. All four teams are part of the Warsaw Sectionals coming in February, so why not? Warsaw did it’s part of wishful foreshadowing, taking seven boys and eight girls events to win the “invites” with 198 points in the girls standings and 194 points in the boys standings.
For all involved, the chance to swim against future tournament opponents was a cheap way to scout for next month’s state tournament. Warsaw also used the night to prep for a big Northern Lakes Conference showdown with Concord this Saturday, where a little foreshadowing will likely come in very handy.
Warsaw’s eight girls wins had all three of its relay teams claim victories, the closest opposition coming in the medley relay were the Tigers beat Rochester by .29 at 2:02.57. Olivia Herman in the 50 free anchor really dug deep to hold off Emma Feldman at the finish, and likely helped Herman excel in the open of the 200 free relay in a 1:49.69 final.
Brenna Morgan anchored the 400 free relay’s 4:07.21 win, and had no trouble in winning the 100 (55.93) and 200 (2:06.42). Delaney Wihebrink added the individual medley (2:23.57) and the backstroke (1:04.81) to her list of accomplishments, and Lauren Kuhl, who was second to Morgan in the 200, won the 500 free outright at 5:55.26.
Warsaw, following the dual with Concord in Dunlap this Saturday, will return to Concord next Thursday and Saturday for the NLC girls swim championships.
Tiger head coach Tony DeBrota, noting maneuvers of swimmers like Herman and Morgan around at the mini, was in prep mode for next week.
“I know the kids are dragging along from training from over the break, but we are really excited to head into the championship weeks,” DeBrota said. “I wasn’t expecting championship times tonight, but I did want to see progress.”
Warsaw’s girls held off Rochester’s 173 points for the top spot. Rochester’s Maddy Sailors won the 50 and Abbie McCarter took the breaststroke to highlight Fulton County’s finest efforts. Huntington North was third at 67 and Tippecanoe Valley, swimming only four girls Wednesday, had 48 points. Nine of those points for Valley came in the butterfly, where Kate Gunter had the top time of 1:09.97.
The Warsaw boys held serve in its strong suits. Showing prowess in all three relays, Warsaw won all three going away at 1:46.29 in the medley, 1:33.55 in the 200 in a sweep, and 3:35.18 in the 400. Matt Wildman, Ethan Cook, Alex Cook and Zach Taylor were all double relay winners for Warsaw.
Wildman also added 50 (22.75) and 100 (50.98) wins to his earnings, Taylor and Mason Metzinger went one-two in the IM, Taylor winning at 2:11.54, and Evan Borchers claiming the butterfly at 57.67.
Rochester’s 131 points had three wins involved, with Eli Pugh winning both the 50 and 500 frees, and Jeff Ruppert taking the backstroke. Huntington North (96) had Cody Barton tops in the breaststroke. Valley followed up at 82 without an individual win.
“Concord is going to push us in areas where we aren’t strong,” DeBrota said of his boys team. “I’m looking to see what we take out of tonight and how we plug that into Saturday. Concord is one of those teams that will be swimming in championship events at conference, and we need to keep pace with them and Northridge.”
For Valley, the chance to swim at the sectional site, and build some momentum with a still-green and inexperienced group was much needed after the holiday break.
“This is a nice scenario in that it gives you a chance to show us where we are at against a couple of the big teams in the sectional,” said Tippecanoe Valley head coach Matt Craig. “Rochester and Warsaw are the obvious powerhouses in the sectional, so it was nice to see where we stack up.”
Tyler Ross had the top Valley boys efforts with a pair of thirds in the 50 (23.95) and 100 (57.86). Chase Brower was fourth in the back at 1:09.64.
“From the holiday break, the kids were swimming tired,” Craig said. “Overall, most of the kids did what we have seen from throughout the season. There weren’t terrible times, but we definitely showed being more tired than fresh.”