New Albany senior swimmer Hannah Manger is poised to break through her glass ceiling.
She will make her fourth straight appearance in the Indiana High School Athletic Association state finals this weekend, and the goal is obvious. Anything less than a spot in the final of the 200-yard individual medley — her specialty — will be disappointing.
Manger, who has signed with Purdue, has qualified for the consolation race in that event the last three years, finishing 16th as a freshman, 12th as a sophomore and 16th last year. That won’t be good enough in her farewell performance.
“My focus is more toward the state meet,” said Manger, who has four sectional titles (including relays) and a career total of 15. “Sectional titles are awesome, but I’m really looking forward to the weekend. I’m looking forward to top-eight finishes.”
She has work to reach that. She’s seeded 22nd in the 200 IM in 2:09.60 and 19th in the 100 backstroke in 58.70, but believes tapering her training toward the final will help her find speed. The top eight from tonight’s preliminaries will qualify for Saturday’s championship race, while places 9-16 will earn a berth in the consolation.
“I’m stronger this year, I’ve been training a lot harder,” Manger said. “I feel good about it.”
New Albany senior Rachel Klein will also have a shot at qualifying for the finals in her events. She’s seeded 13th in the 50 freestyle (23.96) and 15th in the 100 free (52.71) after setting sectional records.
“I’m definitely stoked about what’s to come,” said Klein, a Bellarmine recruit. “I’m going to give it my all and hope for the best.”
Manger and Klein will also have to save some energy. They will join teammates Alexis Lete and Stephanie Thom in the 400 free (seeded 18th in 3:38.13) and 200 free (seeded 19th in 1:39.53) relays.
“We have to hold together,” New Albany coach Steve Bonifer said. “We have to get focused.”
Floyd Central sophomore Meg Taylor also will be chasing a chance to swim on Saturday. She will have to jump several places as the 25th seed in the 200 free (1:56.91) and 500 free (5:13.21). She was 26th in the 200 free and 25th in the 500 last year.
“Hopefully Meg’s day will be Friday,” Floyd coach Joe Perkins said. “…We haven’t put a girl in the state finals for six or seven years now.”
The Highlanders also earned state invitations in the 200 free relay (seeded 25th in 1:41.29) and 400 free relay (seeded 27th in 3:43.86) after posting sectional times fast enough to fill the field of 32 teams in each race. Maryn Meldrum is 30th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.56.
Jeffersonville’s Karlee Demsey, who shaved four seconds off her prelim time and won the sectional 100 butterfly in 59.33, will be seeded 29th in that race. “She had a tough night (Jan. 31) and got off her game,” Jeff coach Keith Gast said. “She wasn’t herself. We talked about relaxing, and she had a great day.”
Jeffersonville’s 200 medley relay is seeded 31st in 1:54.56.
The prelims will begin at 6 p.m. tonight, with the finals and consolations to start at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
* Diving: Jeffersonville’s Alexa Waldrip finished fourth in the diving regional on Tuesday at Bloomington North, scoring 358.10 points. She will compete in the state finals prelims at 9 a.m. Saturday.