There is, of course, the matter of repeating Friday night’s performance, but the Franklin boys swim team has positioned itself well to make a lot of school history this afternoon.
Led by a marquee performance by junior Jacob Destrampe, the Grizzly Cubs earned the No. 1 position in three events and take six other top-eight seeds into today’s state finals at the IU Natatorium.
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“All of us are just all together on an emotional high,” Destrampe said. “Our confidence level is above the roof.”
With good reason.
Destrampe posted the fastest time of the night in the 200-yard freestyle at 1 minute, 37.78 seconds, and he heads into today’s finals seeded second in the 100 freestyle, where his time of 49.29 seconds was just seven one-hundredths of a second behind leader Jack Franzman, of Zionsville.
Franklin set itself up to score big in the relay finals. Destrampe, Michael Couet, Brock Lock and Max Kramer posted the No. 1 time in the 200 freestyle relay (1:22.92), and the 400 free quartet of Destrampe, Cade Oliver, Lock and Kramer also went first, with its time of 3:03.46 more than three seconds ahead of second-place Bloomington South.
The 200 medley relay team of Oliver, Couet, Griffin Edwards and Kramer (1:32.68) enter today seeded fifth.
“I don’t ever want to temper the boys’ expectations,” Franklin coach Zach DeWitt, “but there’s a few cards left to be played by the (Carmel) Greyhounds, and we know that. With that said, we’re going to put our best foot forward. We can’t control what they do or what they’re going to go; I just know that we’re going to be ready to swim fast again tomorrow.”
Oliver joined Destrampe in making both of his individual finals. The freshman was fifth in the 500 freestyle (4:32.53) and eighth in the 200 individual medley (1:51.08). Couet nearly did the same, taking fourth in the 100 breaststroke (55.04) and tying for ninth in the 50 free (21.07).
Perhaps the biggest individual surprise for the Grizzly Cubs on Friday was Lock, who came into the 100 freestyle as the No. 17 seed and finished the prelims sixth in 46.16 seconds.
“I will never forget that moment,” Lock said. “I looked up in the stands, and seeing my coaches and teammates and all that, how excited they were for me, it was a special moment for me. It was awesome.”
Edwards made it into the consolation final of the 100 butterfly, placing 16th, and he just missed doing the same in the 100 backstroke, where he was 19th.
Indian Creek’s Tucker Brock also put himself in a position to medal today, posting the third-fastest time in the 100 butterfly at 49.56 seconds. Brock also was 21st in the 50 freestyle and joined Nolan Reed, Mac Ratzlaff and Chase Smith on a pair of relays. The Braves were 20th in the 400 freestyle relay and 21st in the medley relay.
Ratzlaff fared well individually in his state debut, finishing 18th in the 200 freestyle and 23d in the 500 free.
Despite not having anyone but Brock advance, Braves coach Brad Smith was pleased with how his team did, noting that the top-16 cutoff in the 400 free relay was more than a second and a half faster than it was last year.
“That’s the best we can probably squeak out,” he said. “To be this fast in this state, we have nothing to hang our heads about for sure.”
Whiteland’s lone representative, junior Brenden Gough, wrapped up his season by finishing 22nd in the 200 freestyle. Though he didn’t advance, Gough was happy with his performance and hopes to build on his first state appearance.
“Hopefully I’ll set an example for the rest of the team, and we’ll get some more people here next year,” he said.
Franklin will have plenty of people going today, and while Carmel is virtually assured of repeating as team champion, the Grizzly Cubs have a realistic shot at second after every one of their swimmers went above their seed Friday.
The team was fired up after the prelims but trying to keep things in perspective.
“We just have to stay focused,” Lock said. “That’s all we’ve got to do. We’ve just got to trust the process. We can’t focus on other people; we’ve got to focus on ourselves and what we’re doing, and make sure we can go the best time that we can go.”