NAPPANEE – With Christmas just a week away, the minds of both Wawasee and NorthWood were on improving before the holiday break comes calling. Talking points emerged from that mindset in the swim duals Tuesday night at NorthWood.
WAWASEE GIRLS 110, NORTHWOOD 74
The Lady Warriors, fresh off a big win over the weekend in its home invitational, saw the stars of the weekend continue to shine Tuesday. The alignment of the stars just was a little different. Ella Park switched from distance events to speed, and picked up a win in the 100 free (58.88), and vice versa, Cammy Kryder added some laps to her workload and won the 200 free (2:08.13).
Jordan Gibbs and Elena Sommers earned rare wins, Gibbs taking the backstroke (1:14.10) and Sommers edging Kryder by a few inches in the breaststroke (1:22.63).
“We decided to have a little more fun tonight and switched up some swims,” said Wawasee girls coach Andy Kryder. “It gives us an opportunity to catch stuff that they may be doing that we see in a sprint but maybe not in a distance race. They still swam great and competed hard. I think our girls had a great time tonight.”
Alexis Mishler continued her strong freshman campaign with another two wins, taking the IM (2:24.02) and butterfly (1:06.89) and Lily Tyler jumped into the 500 and came out a winner, swimming 5:42.83. All three Wawasee relays won comfortably.
“We didn’t do well with reactions tonight,” stated NorthWood head coach Sheryl Hawkins. The starting horn was not working properly, forcing the starter to begin each meet with a vocal call and whistle. “We’ve worked quite a bit with reacting to situations and we didn’t do well at all with it tonight. It’s not an excuse, Wawasee had to deal with it, too, but as far as that aspect, we certainly didn’t do well.”
NorthWood had two winners, starting the day with Reagan Koble leading from start to finish in diving with a six-dive set at 182.90. Elle Roberts came up from the flying waters of the 50 free with a 26.61 winner.
WAWASEE BOYS 128, NORTHWOOD 56
Wawasee also had its pieces moved around on the boys side, but had a half dozen winners in a full show in the pool. Daegan Kingery and Alex Troutman were the main parts out of place, Kingery usually a speed maven and Troutman a stroke specialist. Kingery showed his ability to stay consistent with added work, taking both the 200 free (1:56.74) and 500 free (5:31.22) while Troutman jumped into the 100 free and won at 56.08 then immediately got back on the block for the 500 and was a couple seconds behind Kingery.
Karlson Hand pulled a double with wins in the breaststroke (1:10.61) and IM (2:14.50), Bryce Knepp won the 50 (23.87), Nate Kryder took the fly (58.45) and Zeke Keim won the back (1:02.03). Wawasee also won all three relays with relative ease.
“I wasn’t really surprised at what I saw tonight based off how hard the kids are working in practice and what we were able to accomplish at the invite last weekend,” said Wawasee boys head coach Jason Scott. “Racing is racing. Even though you are swimming the 50, you have to learn to swim the 100. Taking someone out of their comfort zone and making them swim something like a 500, they can learn a few things about themselves and show some grit. Maybe that transforms into a better swim in a 100 later on.”
The one major bright spot for NorthWood went flying off the diving board. Caden Jenkins has become must-see for the Panthers, and put on quite a show on the board Tuesday. With a stated goal to erase the 35-year-old school record of 294.5 established by Nate Kuhns in 1984, Jenkins was well on his way after the fourth round of his six-dive set. Among his judge scores included several 7’s, 7.5’s and an 8. As the buzz began to grow in a well-attended fan gallery, Jenkins’ fifth dive had the senior over-correct on his entry into the water, drawing just 5’s. His sixth dive was more the average in the 6’s and 7’s, leaving him at 278.65.
Still an outstanding score for Dec. 17 on a Tuesday night dual without an opponent forcing his hand to pull huge dives.
“We really haven’t started cleaning things up yet, which he’s really just doing his dives over and over to get the motions down,” said NorthWood diving coach Doug Berger. “He’s doing great and it’s pretty exciting to watch. I think he’s going to have a good year. He wants to make finals at state and diving like tonight, it shows how determined he is.”
Wawasee will host Plymouth Thursday night ahead of the holiday while NorthWood preps for a Saturday morning showdown at home with Northridge.