Midway through Friday night’s state swimming preliminaries at the IU Natatorium, it was pretty easy to figure out how Franklin’s evening was going.
“We’re having fun,” assistant coach Alex Jerden said with a large grin on his face.
The Grizzly Cubs are set up to have more fun today, with representation in the championship finals of all three relays and four individual events.
“As the meet develops, you take your share of losses and your gains,” Franklin head coach Zach DeWitt said, “but overall, I’d be unwise to say it was anything other than a great meet.”
The Grizzly Cubs got their evening off to a rousing start when the 200-yard medley relay team of Jessie Fraley, Kabria Chapman, Ali Terrell and Gracey Payne put up a school-record time of 1 minute, 43.69 seconds, the fastest time of the night in that event.
Payne later wound up 29th in the 50 freestyle when she missed the wall at the finish, but the freshman rebounded in a big way by making it into the 100 freestyle final, tying Carla Gildersleeve’s school record of 51.30 seconds. She then anchored Franklin’s 200 freestyle relay, which enters today seeded third at 1:35.52.
“After my 50 I was devastated,” Payne said, “but I knew I had the 100 next and I just was ready to bounce back and leave that in the past.”
Also making it into a championship final on her first try was Chapman, who swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.23 to finish in the eighth spot.
Those two will join Gildersleeve, who is back into the finals in the 200 freestyle (fourth, 1:49.15) and the 100 butterfly (second, 53.86) after breaking her own school marks in both.
The junior also swam the leadoff leg on Franklin’s two freestyle relays, both of which also set new school records. The Grizzly Cubs were eighth in the 400 freestyle relay.
“I was just going for the best time to put those girls in the best position to finish the race,” Gildersleeve said of her relay swims. “It’s really fun to get them out and watch them finish it.”
Franklin also is positioned to pick up points today in several consolation finals. Ali Terrell was ninth in the 200 individual medley and 15th in the breaststroke; Sarah Hoffman was 11th in the 500 freestyle and 15th in the 200 freestyle; Ella Pheifer was 12th in the 50 freestyle and 15th in the 100 freestyle; and Fraley was 16th in the 100 backstroke.
Senior Anna McCahill narrowly missed advancing in the butterfly, with her time of 56.84 seconds just three one-hundredths of a second out of 16th. Fraley was 18th in the 500 freestyle.
Indian Creek also had some swimmers just shy of the cutoff. The Braves’ medley relay team of Lexi Wilhoit, Lori McCormick, Lexy Burge and Bella Ratzlaff was 19th, and Sam Keymon, McCormick, Wilhoit and Ratzlaff were 20th in the 400 freestyle relay.
Ratzlaff and Wilhoit also placed 22nd in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, respectively.
Joining the Franklin contingent in action today will be Center Grove’s Sarah Kempf and Greenwood’s Faith Jackson, who will take part in the diving preliminaries this morning.