5 Sharks advance to state championships

PLYMOUTH — Five Plymouth Aquatics Club Sharks earned top spots at the Indiana Northwest Divisional Championship recently at Crown Point High School to claim berths to the Indiana Age Group State Championship meet this weekend in Indianapolis.
Will Serf, a veteran of championship meets, returns to swim the 100 and 200 backstroke and the 200 butterfly. He will also celebrate his 14th birthday on Saturday.
“I believe this is the second time Will and I have celebrated his birthday together on the Natatorium pool deck,” said Sharks head coach Leanne Senter.
The other four Sharks swimmers earning state berths are rookies to the team.
Sarah Sexton advanced in the 50 and 100 butterfly and Autumn Baumgartner earned a berth in the 50 back. They will be joined by Madeline Magee and Kylie Dehner in both the Medley Relay and Free Relay.
While there were no relays at the divisional meet, relay times were calculated by adding up swimmers’ individual times in different races. The quartet shaved five seconds off their best time in the free relay — a roughly 1.5-second improvement for each swimmer — en route to the state qualifying time, just two seconds away from the Plymouth Aquatics Club record in the event. They already own the club’s medley relay record for 9-10 year-old girls.
“All four girls are extremely excited to be going to their first state meet and have worked very hard to get there,” said Senter. “An example of their ability to focus and achieve happened at the divisional meet. There are no relay events at divisionals so before they all swam the 50 free we had a little meeting. I told them that they had already qualified in the medley relay with their individual times and since they were going to Indy for one relay wouldn’t it be cool to go for two? It was a unanimous yes, but they needed to shave about 5 seconds off their time to do it. They were determined and they conquered.”
“Nerves will be a factor this weekend but I am confidant that these four will remain focused with their eyes on the prize and get that record, also,” she added.
The state championships take place Sunday through Tuesday at the IUPUI Natatorium in downtown Indianapolis. With the Plymouth High School pool now drained as the facility undergoes construction to become the School of Inquiry tech center, the Sharks swimmers are holding practices at the LifePlex pool.
“I’d like to thank Sandi Allen, aquatics director at Fitness Forum Sports & Wellness, for accommodating our needs,” said Senter.