Buoyed by first-place finishes in six of 12 events, defending champion Franklin dominated Saturday’s boys swimming and diving sectional, outpacing runner-up Center Grove by a 121-point margin.
The tournament host Grizzly Cubs were paced by Clayton Culp, Adam Destrampe and Kevin Stahl, each of whom qualified for the IHSAA State Championships in four events. Sectional champions and individuals beating predetermined cutoff times advance to the Feb. 28 to March 1 state meet at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI.
Destrampe won the 200 and 500 freestyles. Culp won the 50 freestyle and qualified for state in the 100 freestyle by beating a cut-off time time. Kevin Stahl won the 200 individual medley and qualified for state in the 100 butterfly by beating a cutoff time, which also was a school record.
Destrampe, Culp, Stahl and Daniel Rice also teamed to win the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, capturing both in pool-, school- and meet-record times.
Franklin coach Zach DeWitt, a picture of manic energy through the meet as he patrolled the deck tracking the course of many of his swimmers during the events, admitted he was somewhat surprised by the scope of the team’s victory.
“This exceeded my expectations,” he said. “I knew we’d be fast. We normally taper pretty well, but ultimately as I’ve always said, ‘hard work pays,’ and these boys work harder than any other group I’ve been around. I can’t imagine any other teams working much harder than we do. We’ve always been better for the brightest lights and the biggest shows, and we should be ready to perform at state even better than we did this week.
“I thought the depth would be there and the top end races were far better than I could have expected. I can’t commend them highly enough.”
Franklin’s relay members said they were pleasantly surprised by their overall results and are confident of a strong showing at the state meet.
“In the 200 IM I didn’t expect to go 1:56, and it was great,” Stahl said. “I’m excited that I got the school record in the 100 fly and made it to state on time as well, so it’s great.
“We’re all looking forward to finishing out with a bang.”
Culp said he exceeded his expectations but still wants to improve.
“I’d say I swam a lot better than I expected, especially in the 50 where I came away with the win,” he said. “The mindset for next week is to just kill it again. We killed it (Saturday).
“A lot of people say you can’t do any better because it’s just a week, but it’s all in your mind, so I’m going in and thinking I can do it.”
Destrampe is equally confident of state meet success.
“I got all of my goal times and I’m excited to see how I can do at the state,” Destrampe said. “I honestly didn’t thing we would swim as fast as we did (in the relays). I was expecting this to happen at state.
“Now we’ve gotten it all over with and we have another opportunity to go faster.”
Rice, who, like Stahl, was swimming his last school meet at the Franklin pool, said the quartet that set the relay records has grown together over time, spurring one another on to stronger performances.
“It’s not often you swim with the same guys on a relay for three years,” Rice said. “We’ve been through hell and back and share a bond. There’s a big accountability factor with us.
“We all know what we have to do when we get in the pool.”
Center Grove was paced by strong performances from Chase Bettner and Daniel O’Brien. Bettner won the 100 freestyle. O’Brien won the 100 fly and qualified in the 200 freestyle, and the pair combined with Alex Krasutsky and Daniel Godfrey to win the 200 medley relay.
“I was excited with how I did. I broke the school record in the 100 free which is something I’ve wanted to do since my freshman year,” Bettner said. “I swam my lifetime best in the 50 free (finished tied for second), so I’m pleased with that.
“I’m hoping for top eight at state.”
O’Brien has similar expectations.
“I was pretty happy with my times. I’m set up pretty well for next week,” O’Brien said. “I think in the medley relay we can drop our time even more next week.”
Indian Creek’s Levi Brock won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.22, but said he expects to post a much better time at the state meet.
“I would have hoped to go 57, but that’s OK,” Brock said. “I am not fully shaved and tapered for this, so I’ll go faster next week at the state. My goal is to make finals, the podium and go under 57.”
Two county divers qualified for Tuesday’s regional diving meet at Bloomington North. Center Grove’s Chandler Head took third place, and Franklin’s Brion Brooks placed fourth to advance.
Event winners earn 30 points for their team, with second place receiving 15 points, going down a point a place to one point for 16th place.
In the final team standings, Franklin totaled 473.5 points. Center Grove had 354.5. Indian Creek finished fourth with 220.5 points. Roncalli was fifth at 207, Whiteland was seventh at 181 and Greenwood eighth with 119.5.
The state meet preliminaries are Friday, with finals and consolation finals in all 12 events taking place Saturday.