While the boys closed out their regular season at the Bremen three-way meet Tuesday, girls area swim teams were gearing up for Thursday’s sectional prelims and the start of the IHSAA’s 38th annual state tournament.
Plymouth and Culver Girls Academy travel to the Warsaw Sectional Thursday with the finals set for Saturday, while Bremen travels to the Penn tournament Thursday with both preliminary rounds set for 5:30 p.m., and the finals at both tourneys slated for 9 a.m. Saturday.
With just 10 swimmers on the Lady Pilgrims’ roster, the team has slim chances to compete for a team title at Warsaw. But several swimmers have chances to reach the finals this weekend, and senior Alayna Holmquest will vie for a sectional championship and third straight regional berth after setting a new Plymouth record in her event last week.
“Last year was not a good regional meet for her, but two years ago she just missed getting in. She was very close to getting out of regional. I’m confident, we like the Warsaw boards,” said Plymouth dive coach Leanne Senter.
“She’s got a knee that is kind of iffy, but she’s one of the toughest people I know, male or female. If we can have a good session Thursday night before the meet starts then we will rest her a little bit on Friday. She’s excited, she’s pumped. She should be able to win sectionals, and we’re counting on getting to state. She should be in the top eight at regionals.”
Also looking to reach Saturday’s finals, Megan Senter is seeded fifth in the 500 free and eighth in the 200 free relay, while freshman sprinter Layne Holloway is seeded eighth in the 50 free and ninth in the 100 free.
“In the 500 Free, Megan Senter is seeded fifth and will be very competitive with the other girls on Thursday. If she sets her mind to it, she could easily be in the top three during Saturday’s finals,” said PHS girls swim coach Katie Kappler.
“(Layne) is very motivated and driven to be in the top 8 on Saturday.”
Plymouth’s 200 free relay team of Holloway, Lauren Page, Sidney Listenberger and Katelyn Brown is seeded seventh in their event, meanwhile, while Holloway, Senter, Lexi Fetters and Katelyn Brown are seeded sixth in the 400 free relay.
“It will be very exciting to watch them compete and hopefully make it in the top eight teams on Saturday,” said Kappler.
For CGA, Lauren Robinson is expected to compete for a championship in the 50 and 100 freestyle swims, while Rory Byrne will vie for the top spot on the podium in the individual medley, and the team’s 400 free and medley relay squads could also finish at the top of the field.
The Lady Eagles have a shot at competing for a team crown with host Warsaw and Logansport, but head coach Major Tom Duckett said that while it’s tough to make predictions, a team championship is probably an unlikely outcome.
“I expect Robinson and Byrne and I expect some relays to do well,” he said. “Will that be enough? You’ve got to literally have three swimmers in finals, in points scoring position. If you only have two swimmers, you’ve got to have one swimmer right at the top of consolation to win that sectional.”
Meanwhile at the Penn tourney, Bremen’s Katie Lafferty is seeded second in the 50 and 100. She’s a long shot to advance, but Bremen head coach Meredith Scott isn’t counting her out, either.
“She’s pretty far off the first place and she’s off the state time by a little bit, but if she tapers well, who knows what could happen? She could maybe take first, she could maybe make the state cut. It’s going to be close,” said Scott.
Lafferty will also swim in two relays with teammates Amy Fanning, Maddie Hershberger and Megan Burchum, and Scott is hoping for competitive placings in those events as well. Beyond that, she’s just looking for a strong finish to the season from all her swimmers.
“I’m looking for season-bests all around,” she said. “They do really well swimming with the competition pushing them. I think they’re getting hyped up. I think they’re starting to feel a little more rested finally, and hopefully Thursday they’re on and their taper hits.”