Hosting the IHSAA Boys’ Swim Sectional, Crawfordsville was looking to make up for 2019, when South Vermillion edged the Athenians by one point for the sectional title.
Crawfordsville came out and looked as if they had something to prove, winning seven of the 12 events, dominating with 471 points, compared to South Vermillion’s 340. Fountain Central was third with 226, while Southmont was fifth with 195, and North Montgomery 10th with 106.
The seven event wins is the most under Athenian coach Kevin Hedrick at a sectional.
“This doesn’t happen without them,” he said. “The excitement and presence that they bring to the team is phenomenal this year. We’re just very blessed to be able to coach great kids. It’s been amazing to watch this year.”
The foursome of Evan Chaney, Hunter Conrad, Thristan Callejas, and Marshall Horton swam to a title in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:41.47, while Conrad and Horton joined Ben Brown and Jack Pendleton with a winning time of 1:31.78 in the 200 freestyle relay. Callejas, Chaney, Brown, and Pendleton capped the dominating day with a win in the 400 freestyle relay with an effort of 3:22.71.
“We’ve been working really hard and making this team a culture based team,” Hedrick said. “When you get that culture moving in the right direction, you can start to see results like this. That’s what allows them to get along with each other, come in and work hard every day and see the result at the end of the tunnel like today.”
Individually, Callejas, just a sophomore, won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:49.16, and the 100 butterfly in 54.08 seconds, while Pendleton won the 50 freestyle in 22.51 seconds, and the 100 freestyle in 49.49 seconds.
“He (Callejas) has sacrificed a lot and given up a lot to dedicate his time to swimming,” Hedrick said. “Both he and Jack (Pendleton) walk away from today with four sectional championship wins. Combine that with three relay wins and that is just something special. All of them are really special kids and they do what they need to do.”
Brown placed fourth in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle, while Chaney was second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 200 individual medley. Conrad was second in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, while Horton was second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 100 breaststroke. Cameron Nordenbrock finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke, while Aidan Mason was fifth in the 500 freestyle and eighth in the 100 backstroke. Joseph Sanchez placed sixth in the 200 freestyle and seventh in the 500 freestyle.
Southmont senior John Zimmerman advancing to the state meet by winning the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:12.33.
“He’s very excited about qualifying for state,” Southmont coach Jane Coudret said. “He barely missed out last season in the 100 backstroke. Overall our guys really did well today. We had some good times and had some of our kids who had personal bests. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
“I really came back this year looking to bounce back,” Zimmerman said. “To get a win under my belt and now headed to the state meet is real exciting. I’m really looking forward to enjoying the experience and hopefully will drop time. My coaches and my teammates along with my brother have really helped me get to where I am today.”
Zimmerman also finished third in the 100 backstroke, while Gavin Waddell was fifth in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 500 freestyle. Trent Jones placed fifth in both the 50 freestyle an 100 butterfly.
North Montgomery diver Stevie Gunderman is headed to the regional for the third time as he placed fourth with a score of 286.85.
“The scores were really close throughout,” Yeager said. “I know Stevie is excited to be heading back and it’s a nice way for him to cap his career off with a regional appearance. Overall we didn’t have as many time drops as we did on Thursday in the prelims, but that’s because those boys had to have big swims to get here today.”
Jamason Burget placed sixth in the 200 individual medley, and fifth in the 100 backstroke.
Yeager talked about the overall experience that her team had at the sectional as the Chargers are a fairly young team.
“For some of them today was their first time experiencing what a sectional environment like this is like,” she said. “To get that experience under their belt today was big and I was proud of them for that. We now understand what a sectional meet looks. We as a team now have a better plan for going forward.”
Fountain Central’s Eric Medley won the diving sectional with a mark of 328.49.
Aidan Shumaker was third in the 200 freestyle and second in the 100 butterfly, while Riley Nelson placed fifth in the 100 freestyle and sixth in the 50 freestyle. Chase Witsman was sixth in the 100 freestyle and eighth in the 50 freestyle.
Hedrick was named as the coach of the year for leading the Athenians to their fifth sectional title in the last six years.
“That’s just a bi-product of having great kids who are doing what they’re supposed to,” Hedrick said of the award. “Everybody sacrifices when you have a true team like we do.”
“We have some work left to do. We’re going to state and swim in a ton of events and do the best we can. We’ll free them up this week and get them ready for an exciting atmosphere at state.”
The diving regional will take place on Tuesday at Brownsburg High School while the state meet starts at 6 p.m. on Friday night at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.