WARSAW — The host Tigers put themselves in position to win their third straight sectional championships with a dominant 21 top-six berths, while Culver Military Academy earned 12 top-six spots and Plymouth grabbed four at the preliminary round of the 11-team Warsaw Boys Swim Sectional Thursday.
“As far as times, with the exception of one swim the boys all swam lifetime bests,” said Culver Military head boys swim coach Tom Duckett.
“I’m pleased with their performance given that they’re young. I had no idea what the heck we were going to do coming in here. They could have just as easily fallen apart.”
“The boys did very well tonight,” said Plymouth head coach Leanne Senter. “We had a lot of personal best times, but we missed some finals that I thought we’d get into.”
Warsaw claimed berths into the fast heat of the finals in all events and claimed multiple berths in most with four first-place finishes, while CMA turned in four top finishes on the day.
The Eagles won the 400-yard freestyle relay as Jose Herrera, Zach Grant, Leopoldo Burguete and David DeVries turned in a 3:28.05 in the event, while Grant grabbed a surprise win in the 100-yard backstroke with a 58.98, and three-time state finalist DeVries took top honors in both the 500 and 200 freestyle swims with respective times of 5:02.51 and 1:47.81.
“He has been quietly a sectional champion every year he’s swum for the squad,” said Duckett. “This will be his fourth year assuming nobody beats him in the 500; I don’t see how. He’s developed into an excellent leader for the team, and that’s what our school is about — growing up and becoming leaders.”
“I’m hoping to maybe get top 16 (at state) this year in one or two events so that’ a big goal of mine,” said DeVries. “Ever since freshman year going down there for the first time, that’s always been a dream of mine. I’ve really worked hard this season, and I think I’ve deserved it. We’ll see how it goes. I need to perform on Saturday, and if I perform then I need to perform in another week of practices in preparation for Friday night.”
Plymouth was unable to earn first-place berths in any events as senior top seed Poaolo Palmitessa finished second in the 200-yard Individual Medley with a 2:11.27 and fourth in the 100 backstroke with a 1:00.03.
“Poaolo’s in the finals in both of his events, and I think he’ll go faster Saturday,” said Senter.
I’m confident he’ll get under a minute in the 100-yard back. I think he’s overthinking things a little bit now, and now that the pressure is not on of being the top seed, maybe he’ll relax and just swim his race.”
The Pilgrims enjoyed success in all three relay races at Thursday’s preliminaries, meanwhile, as Jared Hill, Elliot Eads, Levi Schuler and Palmitessa placed fourth in the 400 free relay with a 3:43.93, Palmitessa, Brandon Brashere, Ben Shortt and Hill were fifth in the 200-yard medley relay with a 1:53.35 stop there, and the Pilgrims’ 200 free relay squad of Brashere, Jordan Wendel, John Slater and Eads placed sixth with a time of 1:42.85.
“We swam close to our best times in those events,” Senter said. “I think we can go a little faster on Saturday’s because some of the guys that are on relays didn’t make it back (in individual events) so they’re going to have more to give to those events.”
Saturday’s finals start at 9 a.m.