CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – All this season, J. D. Taggart, the swimming coach at Fountain Central has been shuffling his lineup, putting different swimmers in different events all year in both meets and practices.
The strategy paid off when his Mustang girls’ team dominated the Crawfordsville Sectional, winning with 437 points over second-place Twin Lakes who had 299.5.
It was the first clear sectional swimming title for the Mustangs in school history according to Taggart, who said depth was the key to the success of the team.
“I kept putting fast swimmers in with our slower swimmers to motivate them to get better,” he said. “And then, when the slower swimmers got faster, they pushed the others – and that’s how we got our depth.”
Taggart, who was voted Coach of the Year by the other sectional coaches, said he thought he would take his entire team to the state meet.
With only sectional champions automatically advancing to state, it meant that individual double winner Clare McGrady will go in the 100 free and the 100 breast.
Joining her will be Hannah Gayler, Abby Moore and Audrey Campbell who swam the three legs of the medley relay with McGrady.
Added from the 200 free relay were Abby Campbell and Shelby Gulley as well as alternates from both relays who did not swim in the finals.
On the day, the Mustangs set seven school records – the three relays, 100 free, 100 breast, 100 flay and 50 free.
In any other year, the third place finish by Seeger would have been the story of the meet. It was the first time in at least a decade that the Patriots had finished that high in the sectional.
The lone swimmer advancing to state for Seeger is Becca Haussin who won the 50 free and the 100 fly, but several others swimmers came close.
“We had several personal records today,” said Seeger coach Shaleye Furr. “We are a young team and we’re just starting to build our depth for next year. We only had two seniors this year.”
Haussin was one of those who set personal bests in her races and the PB from the 100 fly may have come from a change in her technique.
She had been breathing every two strokes in previous races, but in the final, she switched to once every three.
“That’s what I was taught to do,” said Furr, “but the change came from Becca.”
Haussin said, “Breathing is hard work, but today I really was just concentrating on getting off the wall as fast as I could and swimming as fast as I could. The breathing just happened.”
Attica had one individual, Zoe Jordan, in two “A” finals as well as one of their relay teams. All finished at or above their seeding and swam better times than in the prelims.
That caused head coach Dale Peterson to say, “It was a good day” and for Morgan Piper, his assistant to add, “With what we had here today.”
She went on to say that the Ramblers are working on building their numbers and that most of their swimmers are young and should be returning next season.
North Vermillion did not have any swimmers in the individual finals, but did have two relay teams, both of which had no seniors, two juniors and two freshmen.
As Falcon coach Elizabeth Claghorn said at the Wabash River Conference meet, “We’re building and looking forward to next year.”
Just like last year, diver Glory Forrest represented Rockville. She finished second in the 1-meter event and will advance to the diving regional next week.
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at email@example.com