New Albany High School swimmers had the “wow” factor working on Saturday afternoon. They won six girls’ sectional events, shattering four records in the process.
Yet the Bulldogs didn’t take home the trophy in the meet at Highlands Middle School.
Floyd Central withstood New Albany’s top-end speed with superior depth and won the team title for the sixth straight time, totaling 402 points to edge New Albany (385) and Jeffersonville (365). But the Bulldogs, with a sizzling performance from senior Rachel Klein, were willing to trade the championship for the big-splash marks they erased.
“We swam incredibly well,” New Albany coach Steve Bonifer said. “We tied for the title (in 2011) and didn’t swim this well.”
Klein was sensational. She set the tone with her victory in the 50-yard freestyle, smoking her own meet record by almost a second while touching in 23.96 seconds. She shot a quick glance at the race clock and pounded the water in celebration when her time flashed on the scoreboard.
She proved that race was no fluke when she won the 100 free, bolting home in 52.71. The old mark was 54.20 by Haley Dresner in 2010. Klein was psyched and fast, fueled by emotion.
“I was just hyped all week for this,” she said. “I’m amazed. I don’t know where that came from.”
Klein also swam the leadoff leg in the 200 free (1:39.53) and 400 free (3:38.13) relays. With Stephanie Thom, Alexis Lete and Hannah Manger backing her up, the Bulldogs set meet records in both events.
“Rachel has the capability to give an incredible effort when she wants to, when she’s totally focused,” New Albany coach Steve Bonifer said. “It’s not the first time she has amazed me. She has that ability. I’ve seen it before.”
Manger also was a two-time individual winner, raising her career total of sectional titles (including relays) to 15. She breezed in the 200 individual medley for the fourth time in her career, touching first in 2:09.60 to beat her nearest rival by nearly eight seconds. She also dominated the 100 backstroke in 58.70.
“It’s special to me, but my focus is more toward the state meet,” Manger said. “Sectional titles are awesome, but I’m really looking forward to next weekend.”
Team titles aren’t awarded for outstanding individuals, and Floyd Central proved that once again.
The Highlanders had three winners. Sophomore freestyler Meg Taylor smashed the meet record in the 200, winning in 1:56.91 to break the mark of 1:58.14 set by Hanna Martin of Jeffersonville in 2011. She also set the pool record in the 500 free in 5:13.21. Maryn Meldrum was the other champion, taking the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.56.
But Floyd’s difference was freshmen who scored valuable points in the consolations and the finals.
The top four finishers in diving advance to Tuesday’s regional at Bloomington North. The winners in each individual event advance to the state prelims Friday at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.