MIDDLEBURY – Thursday’s preliminaries for the Northern Lakes Conference Boys Swimming Championships saw stars from Wawasee and Warsaw position themselves for a run at conference glory.
Warsaw’s Grant Knight is primed to shine in the breaststroke, sitting in first after his 56.39 top swim in the prelims, a full two-and-a-half seconds ahead of Concord ace Matt Bond. In doing so, Knight shattered the meet and pool records in the event. Knight is also sitting in third in the individual medley, with all comers in the IM chasing Concord’s Kal Findley.
Wawasee’s Jared Krugman didn’t pace the field in either of his swims, but was within a virtual stroke of first in both his freestyles. In the 200, Northridge’s Nick Dibley hung a 1:48.21 but Krugman was just back at 1:48.41. In the 500, Nick’s brother, Luke, posted a 4:52.07 and Krugman is .55 back setting up a pair of freestyle events to watch Saturday in the Northridge Natatorium.
Findley is the leader coming into the backstroke, and the Minutemen have the top times in all three relays. If the Minutemen want to knock the Raiders from its perch atop the conference – which it did with a 7-0 mark and its first win over Northridge head-to-head in over 20 years – it will likely need its relays to perform at the top. Concord will have the luxury, as well, with points in diving as Ridge does not have a diver.
Ridge does have some sauce, as a perennial champion does, with Joey Garberick leading the 50, Turner Koch out from of the butterfly, Nick Dibley pacing the 100 free, and all three of its relays active.
Warsaw, Wawasee and NorthWood all have their relays active, and have plenty swimming for championships Saturday. The Tigers have Nick Bazzoni in both the 200 free and breaststroke, Alex Cook in the 50 and 100 freestyles and Zach LaLonde in the 500 free and backstroke. Nathan Taylor is in the butterfly finals as is Michael Ray in the 100 free.
Wawasee has its share of swimmers in two individual championship finals, with Jared’s twin brother Jacob alive in the butterfly and breaststroke finals, Daegan Kingrey in the 50 and 100 finals and Karlson Hand in both the IM and backstroke. Alex Troutman is also working in the breaststroke.
NorthWood’s Jason McNeill made the finals of both the 200 and 500 freestyles, but has some work to do seeded seventh and sixth, respectively.
The NLC Championships start with diving prelims Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at Northridge and reconvene at 1 p.m. with the swim and diving championships.