BY GREG FLINT
---- — CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – No area swimmers won championships at the Crawfordsville Sectional to advance to the state meet, but one diver did qualify for regional competition.
Kale Freeman, of Fountain Central took second in the 1-meter springboard event and doing so allows him to dive again on Thursday in the Brownsburg Regional.
The sophomore said that advancing was one of his goals for the season, but that he did not expect to get there this year.
“Last year I finished ninth and the pressure got to me,” Freeman said, “but today I just wanted to go out there and dive as well as I could.”
Asked whether his improvement came from doing dives better or tackling tougher dives, he said it was the latter.
“I added a two-and-a-half and a reverse one-and-a-half to what I do and it made a big difference,” he explained. “When you get the higher DD’s [degree of difficulty, the point value of a dive], the totals really add up.”
Freeman said he is excited about advancing, saying, “I’ve never been there so it’ll all be new to me, but I’ll just go and do my best and enjoy it.”
His teammate, Joe Nine, came the closest of any area swimmer to advance to the state meet as he took second in the 200 free. He was fourth in the 100 fly and helped the Mustangs to a pair of ninth-place finishes in the two free relays.
Fountain Central took ninth, behind the seventh place Seeger Patriots and eighth place Benton Central Bison.
The top finisher for the Bison was freshman Cameron Cripe in the 100 back.
Seeger’s Jayson Smith took third in the 500 free and Jarrett Smith of the Patriots took fourth in the 100 free. Those two combined with Solomon and Isaac Hunter to pick up a fifth in the 400 free relay and a seventh in the sprint relay.
Seeger coach Shaleye Furr was satisfied with the way her team swam into seventh place.
“I’ve got no complaints,” she said. “We swam some great times for us and cut maybe 55 seconds off our times in the prelims.
“Jonah Hunter cut ten seconds off his 200 IM time,” she added, “and Solomon [Hunter] dropped 22 seconds in the 500 free. He couldn’t believe he could swim that fast.”
Attica finished eleventh in the team standings, but had to come into the finals without one of their swimmers who was “a sick boy” according to head coach Dale Peterson. He described the day as so-so with some swimmers doing okay and some not swimming very well.
One swimmer that improved according to assistant coach Morgan Piper was Kylan Freeland who “cut seconds off his backstroke time.”
North Vermillion came in twelfth and had two swimmers reach the finals. Kevin Byrum took 14th in the 100 back while Lauren Kinneer finished 13th in the 100 fly.
Falcon head coach Elizabeth Claghorn was particularly pleased for Kinneer, saying, “In the final race of his career he swam the best time of his life in the fly.”
All season, Claghorn had been calling this a year building for next year. She said she was glad to have so many of her swimmers get to swim in the Sectional as she had additional boys in all three relay races.
“This sectional is a big thing for us,” she explained. “We see teams that have so many more swimmers than we have, so it’s hard on our team to swim against them.”
Knowing their lack of depth keeps them out of team title hopes, Claghorn still gets her team to be competitive.
“They swim against the clock,” she explained. “They don’t’ worry about where they finish, but did they do better? They might finish 31st, but if they beat their time, they’re happy and ready to go again.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org