IHSAA sectional time has arrived for the sport of swimming, with the girls preliminaries getting started at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Avon and Crawfordsville for Wabash Valley schools.
Action will conclude Saturday with sectional finals at all 20 of the state’s sites.
Last year’s girls sectional that involved Wabash Valley teams took place in the Vigo County Aquatic Center, but now it’s back in Avon.
Which teams are favored to win?
In the latest coaches poll for girls swimming, Plainfield was ranked 11th in the state and Avon was tied for 22nd. Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South are likely to battle for the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the sectional.
“The girls at South are very excited about the sectional,” South girls coach Emily Marrs said. “Our ultimate goal is to get as many girls as possible to qualify to swim in the sectional finals on Saturday and drop time in both individual events and relays.”
Marrs agreed that sophomore Haley Sakbun is favored to finish first in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.
“[Sakbun’s] goal goal is be a back-to-back sectional champion in both of these events,” Marrs mentioned. “Lauren Kirchner and Macey Mong [of South] are contenders to have top-eight finishes in the 50 free and 100 free. The members of all three relays are hopeful to make major time drops.”
From the North perspective, coach Mike Williams is enthusiastic about the prospects of his team scoring plenty of points.
"The divers have been training with coach Troy [Cuthbertson] and are really looking strong and confident right now," he said. "The focus for the swimmers this entire season was to be prepared for this weekend and we are.
"I am confident that the girls will have 100-percent lifetime-best swims. We have a top-10 seed in the 50 free [Nevaeh Lauritzen] and the 200 free [Maddie Myers], two top-10 seeds in the 100 free [Jessie Breitwesier and Nevaeh Lauritzen], the 500 free [Maddie and Katie Myers], the 100 back [Annie Demchak and Jessie Breitwesier] and the 100 breast [Hayden Mattick and Lizzie Wright] and three top-10 seeds in the 200 individual medley [Hayden Mattick, Alia Sarris and Emma Holder] and the 100 butterfly [Demchak, Sarris and Holder]. Those very few girls that are outside of the top-10 seeds are ready to fight for their spot in the finals Saturday, so we will definitely have a strong team presence."
Among the schools competing in the Crawfordsvile Sectional today and Saturday are South Vermillion and North Vermillion.
Admission at both sites is $6 per night or $10 for both nights.
1. First-place sectional winners in each event qualify for the state meet plus...
2. Any contestant who equals or betters the state time standard in their respective event in the consolation finals or championship finals of the sectional qualifies for the state. The state standard may not be achieved by a swimmer who is competing as the first leg of a relay.
3. The next fastest number of contestants in the state that would bring the total number of state meet entrants to 32 in each event. In the event that a tie exists for the 32nd position, the tie shall stand and both swimmers shall advance to the state championships.
1. First- through fourth-place sectional winners will qualify for the diving regional.
2. First- through eighth-place regional winners will qualify for the state finals.