WARSAW – There seemed to be a heightened sense of urgency in the Warsaw camp coming into Saturday’s Warsaw Boys Swim Sectional. The Tigers had the guns to make a lot of noise at the top of the list, but head coach Tony DeBrota worried about whether it had enough points elsewhere to fend off Columbia City.
Those questions were answered pretty quickly as Warsaw won three of the first four events, but found itself up 34 points and ahead of the curve. That movement would continue as the Tigers won its 12th straight team title by a 419-352 margin over the pesky Eagles.
“The strategy to get this sectional title, the boys looked at who they had to beat and they went out and they did it,” DeBrota said. “I showed them the field and made them understand the plan. They had to go out and execute it.
“My first year here was when Spencer Davidson and Jayden Parrett were seniors, and there was a lot of concern when they graduated that we would fall off. Last year’s seniors were freshmen, and we had to start over again. And last year we won by a 100 points. You bring in great teams like Columbia City and Culver Academy, there was a lot of nervousness, but it shows what this team is made of.”
Alex Cook and Grant Knight were part of four titles each, two together in the championship medley relay with Zach LaLonde and Nathan Taylor at 1:39.74 and with Michael Ray and Nick Bazzoni in the 200 free relay at 1:30.05. Knight rallied with a 32.31 breaststroke leg to speed past City’s Aaron Fix for a record 1:57.38 win in the individual medley and then dominated the breaststroke going away at 57.26 to win his third straight title in the event. Cook won a hotly contested 50 freestyle in a personal best 22.08 then won the 100 free at 48.93, claiming his first two individual sectional championships.
“As a senior in my last home meet, I really wanted to get a couple wins,” Cook said, fresh off throwing half the deckhands in the pool during the post meet celebration. “I’ve been down to Indy before as a relay, but never as an individual, so I’m excited to get a shot to see what I can do on my own. I just have to go down, have my best race and have fun.”
Warsaw made up some valuable points from Jackson Moeller and Jacob Monesmith, where Moeller won the IM and 500 consolations, and Monesmith won the 50 and 100 freestyle consolations. Bazzoni also finished second to Knight in the breaststroke, and his 1:00.66 could get a potential callback for a state at-large position.
Adding points in championship flights for the Tigers included Bazzoni fourth in the 200, Michael Ray sixth in the 100 free and seventh in the 200 free, Taylor fifth in the fly and seventh in the IM, Gabe Bowers sixth in the 50 and fly, John Deming sixth in the breast and eighth in the fly, LaLonde third in the 500 and backstroke, Sam Easter eighth in the back, and the 400 free relay fourth.
Warsaw’s 20th overall and 12th consecutive title moves the Tigers into a tie for the third-longest title streak with Carmel. Chesterton won its 21st in a row and Munster continues its dynasty in the upper region with its 34th straight title.
Columbia City had a pair of champions in Ryan Devito in the butterfly at 53.60 and came back to win the 400 free relay at 1:39.63.
Culver Academy freshman Mitchell Schott made quite a first impression, winning the 200 and 500 freestyles in record fashion. Schott went 1:43.56 in the 200 to erase Eli Pugh’s mark, then took Pugh off the record board again in the 500 at 4:42.74.
Northfield’s Grant Dale was ecstatic after swimming a 54.17 to win the backstroke.
Plymouth’s Justin Moser was the clear champion in diving with his 358.25 series, a full 41 points clear of second place.
“Seeing them just have fun every single day, it makes a difference when you come in here and win a sectional title,” said DeBrota. “This one really does feel good.”
At Northridge, a stunning disqualification right off the bat would come back to haunt the defending champion Concord Minutemen. Concord’s opening relay was disqualified, taking out the two seed from the final standings, which would come into play in the meet where Northridge won the team title 352-333 over the Minutemen.
The two teams would split the champions at five apiece, but the medley points, which Northridge took 40 points with its 1:36.85 championship, became vital. Ridge also won the 400 relay (3:14.31), Joey Garberick was the 50 champion (21.71) and Nick Dibley claimed both the 200 free (1:43.48) and 500 free (4:39.54).
Concord had Kal Findley take the IM (1:50.66) and backstroke (50.81), Matt Bond the 100 free (48.14) and breaststroke (56.80) and the Minutemen won the 200 free relay (1:26.27).
NorthWood’s Caden Jenkins won his first-ever sectional championship in diving with a 408.80 series and Elkhart Central’s Eric Kelm took the butterfly at 51.41.
Wawasee will have to wait on callbacks if it wants its season to continue without the benefit of a champion. Jared Krugman finished second in the 200 free at 1:44.21 and third in the 500 free at 4:43.47. Daegan Kingrey was third in the 50 at 22.80 and fourth in the 100 at 49.93.
Wrapping up Wawasee’s championship swims were Alex Troutman sixth in the breaststroke and eighth in the IM, Karlson Hand sixth in the IM and seventh in the backstroke, Bryce Knepp eighth in the 50 and eighth in the 100, Jacob Krugman fifth in the breaststroke, Aaron Troutman seventh in the 500, the medley relay fourth and the 400 free relay fifth. The Warriors were fifth in the team standings with 282 points.
NorthWood’s Jason McNeill ended his swim career as the Panthers’ record holder in the 200 free at 1:49.97 and finished fifth in the 500 at 5:01.34. The NorthWood 200 free relay was fifth and the 400 free relay was seventh.