DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
All in all, it was a solid evening for Johnson County swimmers at Friday’s preliminary round of the IHSAA Girls Swimming and Diving State Finals.
Leading the way was Center Grove’s Emily Saugstad, who swam to a pair of sixth-place finishes in the 100- and 200-yard individual freestyle races.
Saugstad went faster than her seed time in both events. The junior was just under a second to her seed time in the 100 but was a startling three seconds faster in the 200.
Saugstad’s time in the 200 was 1:49.14. Her seed time was 1:52.69 in an extremely fast set of heats. The top 10 finishers all beat their seed times in the 200.
As a result of her results, Saugstad will have a chance today to capture state championships in both events.
Center Grove teammate Caroline Sheehan also made the finals with an eighth-place finish in the 500 freestyle.
Sheehan also was pretty remarkable with her preliminary time, shaving more than 11 seconds off her seed time. Her time was 5:00.09.
“You don’t really see a whole lot of that,” Center Grove coach Jim Todd said when asked about the time.
Sheehan was also 15th in the 200 IM, good enough to qualify for today’s consolations.
And if that weren’t enough for the Trojans, their 200 freestyle relay team was fourth in the preliminaries to earn a spot in the finals. The combination of Saugstad, Peighton Gilbert, Amanda Ward and Sheehan swam a 1:36.19.
“It was a good night all the way,” Todd said. “Caroline and Emily had great nights. We’ll wait and see how it goes (today).”
The Trojans 400 freestyle relay of Sheehan, Gilbert, Ward and Saugstad was ninth and will be in the consolations.
Center Grove’s 200 medley relay didn’t make it to either the finals or consolations. Gilbert finished out of the consolation finals, placing 19th in the 50 freestyle, while Ward was 24th in the 100 backstroke.
None of Franklin’s swimmers advanced to Saturday’s finals, and Greenwood’s lone swimming entry, Lauren Dalton, didn’t make the 100 breaststroke finals.
But according to Franklin coach Zach DeWitt, it was still a great experience and his swimmers did improve on their personal bests.
Freshman Anna McCahill was 26th in the 100 butterfly, the Grizzly Cubs’ 400 freestyle relay finished 23rd.
“We really swam well given the circumstances,” DeWitt said. “We were able to drop our times; not enough for (today), but we showed enough improvement based on our seed times.”
DeWitt is excited for the future of the team.
“We’re young, and we’ll have eight of our nine state qualifiers back next year. This was a great experience for them.”
The finals are today, after this morning’s diving preliminaries and semifinals.
Four Johnson County divers — Krista Jones of Greenwood, Maddie Keeley and Rachel Smallwood of Center Grove and Jorden Wood of Whiteland — will vie for the championship.