BY GREG FLINT
VEEDERSBURG, Ind. —
The Wabash River Conference held its annual swimming championship at Fountain Central and it was the journey, not the destination, which kept the overflow crowd until the end.
As expected, the Fountain Central girls and the Seeger boys took the team titles, but it was how they got there that made the show.
Calling the atmosphere “electric,” Fountain Central coach John McClure was ecstatic about the way his team swam.
“This is the best swimming I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” said the seven-year Mustang coach. “We swam an outstanding meet. We swam much faster than I expected us to swim.”
Leading the way for his girls’ team was double individual winner Clare McGrady. The freshman won the 100 free in school-record time, the 100 breast in a WRC record time and was on the winning medley and sprint relays.
Also winning for the Mustang girls were Haley Gibbs in the IM and Abigail Campbell in diving.
“Yes, we had a couple of wins,” said McClure, “but it was our depth – our fourth, fifth and sixth place finishes – that got the title for us today.”
His boys’ team took second and they were led by another freshman in Joe Nine. He captured the IM, the 100 fly and was on a couple of second-place relays. Joining him with a win was Kale Freeman in diving.
“We set several records and personal bests today,” said McClure, “and we didn’t even taper yet. Our goal is, as always, sectional.”
Seeger coach Chance Hurt was not as excited as his Mustang counterpart, saying, “We did about what I expected us to do.”
Leading the Patriot boys to their title was Spencer Hitchcock, who won the 50 and 100 free and helped take the medley and 400 free relay.
It was the latter two races that got raves from Hurt, who described them as the swims of the meet.
Also winning for the boys were Wyatt Tarter in the 200 free, Solomon Hunter in the 500 free, Michael Anderson in the 100 back and Isaac Hunter in the 100 breast.
On the girls’ side for Seeger, Becca Haussin won the 100 fly in a slightly slower time than her WRC-record prelim. Also winning were Erin Kay in the 200 free and Jordan Haddock in the 50 free.
Attica and North Vermillion were just like Fountain Central except they battled for third with the Rambler girls and the Falcon boys grabbing those positions.
Rambler coach Dale Peterson said he was pleased with how his younger swimmers competed; noting that over half his team is made up of freshmen.
“We got a lot of places in the finals, which was good,” he said.
The lone champion for Attica was Zoe Jordan in the 500 free, but the team had numerous thirds and fourths upon which to build in coming years.
North Vermillion had one champion in Katie Byrum who captured the 100 backstroke over Haussin.
“It was a closer race in the prelim,” said Elizabeth Cleghorn, the Falcon head coach. “But she also set a school record in the 200 free where she was second.”
Cleghorn called it a “great day” as she noted, “We had a lot of dropped times today.”