Preliminaries in boys sectionals in swimming and diving will be Thursday, followed by finals at 1 p.m. Saturday. Winners in each event, plus those meeting state standards, advance to next week’s 80th state meet at the Natatorium at IUPUI.
Local teams will be in sectionals at Hamilton Southeastern, Noblesville, Terre Haute South, Zionsville, Brownsburg, Lawrence North, New Palestine and Franklin.
Five things to watch:
Top 3 teams gear up
Inevitably, Indiana’s three top-ranked teams are No. 1 Carmel, Chesterton and Zionsville. Carmel and Chesterton have combined to win the past nine team championships, and Zionsville was second to Carmel in each of the past two years.
Chesterton was judged national champion by Swimming World in 2014, and Carmel aspires to that in 2017. Yet Zionsville almost certainly has its best team ever, and could beat both of them.
“I think we’re good enough to win, but we’re going to have to swim our best,” Carmel coach Chris Plumb said. “If we don’t swim our best, we probably won’t.”
Chasing medley relay record
Chesterton set a national public schools record of 1 minute, 29.64 seconds in the 200-yard medley relay at the 2014 state meet. In 2017, the winner might have to swim faster.
Zionsville has a state-ranked specialist in each stroke: Jack Franzman (freestyle), Tyler Harmon (backstroke), Andrew Schuler (butterfly) and Brock Brown (breaststroke). Whether Carmel can beat Zionsville will depend on how the Greyhounds set relay lineups. Sectionals won’t necessarily suggest a state outcome.
100 percent in 100 free
Another Chesterton state record from 2014, by Olympic gold medalist Blake Pieroni, also is in peril in the 100-yard freestyle. Franzman and Carmel’s Drew Kibler, both juniors, should come out of sectionals and set up “The Race” of state.
In December’s East junior winter nationals, Kibler won in 43.14 over Franzman, third in 43.64. In a dual meet later that month, Franzman beat Kibler.
Pieroni’s record is 43.52. Kibler, 16, is aiming at the national age-group record of 42.87.
200 free record as good as gone
The oldest swim state record, 1:37.02 by North Central’s Peter Jameson in 2006, won’t survive in the 200 freestyle. A senior (Harmon), junior (Kibler) and sophomore (Franklin’s Jacob Destrampe) might all eclipse that time after getting out of sectionals.
Top returnee is Destrampe, who was third at state as a freshman. Kibler was ineligible last year after transferring to Carmel from North Central, and the 200 free is new to Harmon’s schedule. Kibler set a national age-group record of 1:33.36 at the East winter juniors.
Fishers goes for repeat
Last year Fishers won its first sectional, ending Hamilton Southeastern’s 23-year streak. The fifth-ranked Tigers should repeat this year at the HSE Sectional. Besides swim strength, Fishers features junior Cole VanDevender, the state’s No. 2-ranked diver.
Call IndyStar reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.