Saturday afternoon’s IHSAA State Finals likely marked the greatest day in the history of the Franklin boys swimming & diving program.
Somehow, it still felt like just the beginning.
Riding a pair of top-three individual finishes from sophomore Jacob Destrampe, two top-eight relays and a ninth-place finish from diver Gauge Creech, the Grizzly Cubs racked up 102 points to place 10th overall — the first time the team had ever posted a top-10 state finish.
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“I feel like our whole team really got what they wanted,” Destrampe said. “All of us working up to getting into higher places for the relays and individuals; it was a great day for the whole team.”
The day got off to a somewhat disappointing start for Franklin, which placed eighth in the opening 200-yard medley relay after posting the sixth-best time in Friday’s preliminaries. Still, the quartet of Griffin Edwards, Michael Couet, Maxwell Kramer and Destrampe picked up 22 points to get the Grizzly Cubs started.
Destrampe added 17 more in the 200 freestyle, where his time of 1 minute, 37.91 seconds would have looked a lot better had it not been for Carmel’s Drew Kibler, who blew away the field in 1:33.79 one day after knocking almost four seconds off the old state record.
Creech then stepped to the fore. In the final round for the first time after placing 25th a year ago, the sophomore put up a score of 406.35 in 11 dives — the second-best score of his career — to give Franklin nine more points.
“I realized from last year you can’t let the nerves get to you, because that’s what happened to me last year and I didn’t do too well,” Creech said. “So I just focused on me and focused on my dives.”
Destrampe then went back to work in the 500 freestyle, finishing third in 4:29.96. His 16 points in that event put Franklin safely in the top 10 with little to no chance of falling out.
The Grizzly Cubs scored in each of the remaining events. The 200 freestyle relay team of Brock Lock, Aaron Lamm, Couet and Aiden McCain was 15th, and Edwards and Couet then added 14th-place finishes in the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke, respectively.
In the final race of the day, the squad of Destrampe, Lamm, Kramer and Edwards snatched up 28 points by placing fifth in the 400 free relay.
DeWitt is hopeful that the success his young swimmers enjoyed this past weekend — particularly Couet and Edwards — will help set the tone for even bigger things down the line.
“They’re normally pretty committed,” he said, “but I think that we’re going to get unprecedented commitment in terms of trying to take the next step from being a top-10 team to a top-five team.”
“With the team getting bigger and all of us getting faster, we’re really working up there to get into that top tier.” Destrampe added.
Senior Noah Tallman scored Center Grove’s only points with a 15th-place finish in the 100 butterfly. Whiteland’s Collin Barton qualified for the 1-meter diving prelims, but was eliminated after finishing the morning in 29th place.