ELKHART — Plymouth’s young squad finished sixth in both the 200 medley and 400 free relay and reached the consolation finals in six individual events against a tough Northern Lakes Conference field at the NLC prelims at Concord Thursday.
With just one senior and five sophomores on the Pilgrims swim team, head coach Leanne Senter knew it would be tough to compete for a share of the NLC crown and was happy just seeing the numerous personal- and season-bests her swimmers clocked.
“I kind of look at the conference meet as a dress rehearsal for sectional,” she said. Given the fact that my team is so young and new, I told them that I wanted to see them swim fastest times tonight and then even faster times on Saturday, and everybody was either right at their best personal time or faster.”
Senior Paolo Palmitessa reached the consolation finals with dual 10th-place finishes in both the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 breast stroke, where he placed less than half a second out from eighth place and a berth in Saturday’s finals.
Freshman Tom Serf also earned a pair consolation cuts with finishes of 11th in the 100 backstroke and 14th in the 100 butterfly, while fellow freshman Elliott Eads secured a ticket to Satur-day’s consolation final with a 14th-place result in the 100 breast behind Palmitessa. Junior Jared Hill finished 14th in the 50 free, and Elliott Eads just made the cut in 16th in the 100 butterfly.
Plymouth will return to the NLC finals Saturday, where the Pilgrims will try to salvage as many points as possible against the eight-team field.
“Everybody who is a returning swimmer this year is at or past their best time last year, which most were swam at sectionals,” Senter said. “So everybody is ahead of were they were at last year, and our freshmen are just dropping time. It really was a great night, and with these times that we had this weekend we really will be in a good position at sectionals.”
• NLC BOYS
200-yard medley relay: 6. Plymouth (Paolo Palmitessa, Brandon Brashere, Jared Hill, Blake Milliser) 1:54.4; 200 IM: 10. Palmitessa 2:11.9; 50 free: 14. Hill 24.86; 100 fly: 14. Tom Serf 55.82, 16. Elliott Eads 56.68; 200 free relay: 7. Plymouth (Brashere, Jordan Wendel, John Slater, Eads) 1:42.28; 100 back: 11. Serf 1:05.78; 100 breast: 10. Palmitessa 1:08.07, 14. Brashere 1:12.36; 400 free relay: 6. Plymouth (Hill, Ben Shortt, Eads, Palmitessa) 3:46.73