It might be a difficult sell convincing Franklin Community High School girls swim coach Zach DeWitt there are 20 teams in the state better than Center Grove.
While it’s true the 21st-ranked Trojans don’t feature one or two dominant performers the way they have in seasons past, coach Jim Todd hardly lacks point potential at today’s preliminaries of the Franklin Sectional.
“To be honest, Center Grove, due to its depth will outdistance everyone else (in the team standings),” DeWitt said.
“In some respects they are down, but it’s still an outstanding program with the tradition and one heck of a coach.”
Todd’s program last season won 10 of the 12 events in generating 479 points to win the sectional by 90 points ahead of runner-up Franklin.
Franklin Girls Swimming Sectional
Preliminaries: Today, 5:30 p.m.
Finals: Saturday, 9 a.m.
Teams: Center Grove, Franklin Community, Greenwood, Indian Creek, Martinsville, Mooresville, Owen Valley, Perry Meridian, Roncalli, Southport, Whiteland.
200 medley relay: Franklin, 1:54.46
200 freestyle: Kelsey Harper (Franklin), 2:01.50
200 individual medley: Caroline Sheehan (CG), 2:12.91
50 freestyle: Emily Saugstad (CG), :24.34
100 butterfly: Lauren Beaumont (CG), 1:01.24
100 freestyle: Emily Saugstad (CG), :53.05
500 freestyle: Mikaela Saugstad (CG), 5:20.08
200 free relay: Center Grove, 1:41.90
100 backstroke: Caroline Sheehan (CG), 1:01.51
100 breaststroke: Mikayla Carroll (Franklin), 1:08.11
400 free relay: Center Grove, 3:43.16
Returning individual winners for Center Grove are sophomore diver Maddie Gordon, junior Lauren Beaumont in the 100-yard butterfly and sophomore Caroline Sheehan in the 100 backstroke.
Not surprisingly, all three are favored in their respective events today and during Saturday’s finals.
The Trojans overall are seeded first in nine events. Franklin has three No. 1 seeds.
Sheehan will be the person to beat in the 200 individual medley as well as the 100 backstroke, while Emily Saugstad, only a freshman, is seeded first in both the 50 and 100 freestyle.
Franklin’s No. 1 seeds are Kelsey Harper in the 200 free and senior Mikayla Carroll in the 100 breaststroke with the Cubs and Trojans favored in one relay apiece.
The ultimate objective is to advance to the Feb. 8-9 IHSAA State Meet, a greater likelihood for some athletes as opposed to others.
It’s here, within the dogged pursuit of a personal-best time or point total, where swimming and diving tends to separate itself from other sports.
“You get some girls you want to push through to the state meet, and there are the girls you want to get their lifetime best,” Todd said.
“We tell the kids, ‘We can only control what we do.’ If your best time gets you to the next level, that’s just icing on the cake.”
DeWitt shares the philosophy.
“It’s a different culture from a lot of sports,” he said.
“It’s been a long season, and you want to be better than you’ve ever been.”
Based on qualifying times, three races in particular look as though they could produce suspenseful finishes.
In the 200 freestyle, Harper’s 2:01.50 is slightly better than the 2:02.02 of junior teammate Grace Seibert.
Also watch for Beaumont (1:01.24) to be pushed in the 100 butterfly by Perry Meridian junior Deanna Ford (1:01.75), and for the 500 freestyle to come down to Center Grove senior Mikaela Saugstad (5:20.08) and Harper (5:24.65).
Among those representing other Johnson County programs are Greenwood’s Lauren Dalton (fourth seed) and Kendall Pritsch (fifth), along with Indian Creek’s Kaitlin Smith (seventh) in the 100 backstroke; Whiteland’s Cierra Choate (fourth) in the 500 freestyle; and Dalton and Whiteland’s Chelseay Anderson are seeded sixth in the 200 IM and 50 freestyle, respectively.
Indian Creek sophomore Sarah DeHart is seeded eighth in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 freestyle.