By Andrew Crum
AVON — Records are made to be broken. And there is no better place than a packed house in front of the home crowd.
In a tournament-like atmosphere, the Avon Orioles broke seven records and just missed another as the boys’ and girls’ teams both defended last year’s county titles at the Hendricks County swimming and diving meet last Saturday.
The Avon girls’ swimming team won its fifth consecutive county title, finishing with 414 points. Brownsburg placed second (265), Plainfield was third (258), followed by Cascade (116), Tri-West (110), and Danville (97).
Avon’s boys finished with 412 points to win and repeat last year’s feat. Brownsburg took second (304), Plainfield placed third (183), followed by Danville (141), Tri-West (127), and Cascade (95).
In the girls’ meet, Avon sophomore Ana Walters broke her own record in the 200 IM (2:10.60), besting her previous time by nearly two seconds. She broke the record in the 100 backstroke (59.03), beating the previous record set in 1997.
Walters also helped her two relay teams win. In the 200 medley relay, she teamed with seniors Liz Wishart and Miranda Fay, and junior Lauren Campbell for a time of 1:51.57, breaking the previous record of 1:52.62 set by last year’s squad.
Walters was also a part of the winning 400 freestyle relay team (3:45.11) with Campbell, senior Elizabeth Kitching, and freshman Hallie Jones.
Walters, who broke both elbows shortly before the start of the 2011-12 season, set the record last year in just her third meet.
“This year, I’ve been working my butt off,” she said. “I’m just better focused and more dedicated than ever.”
Jones won both the 100 (54.81) and 200 freestyle events (1:57.51) and was also part of the winning squad in the 200 freestyle relay (1:43.73) with Fay, Kitching, and Wishart.
“I was really excited,” Jones said. “This is similar to sectionals, so it was very important to me. It helped give me confidence.”
Campbell won the 50 freestyle (25.29), Kitching won the 500 freestyle (5:20.63), and Wishart won the 100 breaststroke (1:08.18).
Brownsburg senior Maddie Ketchem won the 100 butterfly (1:00.53) and Plainfield junior Courtney Coverdale won the one-meter diving title with a score of 455.10.
“I’m very happy for Maddie Ketchem,” Brownsburg coach Joshua Saylor said. “She’s never been a county champion and came back from a concussion earlier this week. I was very pleased today. We have good depth now, much better than last season and our conference meet will be another big step for us.”
Of the inward double dive that earned her a near perfect score, Coverdale said, “I actually just started doing that dive in meets two weeks ago, but I learned it over the summer. I have been working on it during practice a lot lately.”
Avon swimming coach Jon Karr said he enjoyed the way his team competed.
“Our goal is to keep doing things the right way and continue to make progress,” he said. “Our girls really care about one another and they know their teammates are counting on them. It elevates the whole program. It’s fun to watch. They go out and compete for one another and the team.”
Orioles’ sophomore Grant Lewis broke the record by nearly two seconds in the 200 IM (1:57.87) and won the 100 butterfly (53.04).
Lewis helped his team break the record in the 200 medley relay (1:38.66), along with senior Matt Stowe and juniors Christian Lorenz and Greg Sprout, besting the previous time by nearly two seconds. He was also part of the winning 200 freestyle relay (1:30.33) with senior Quinn McPhail, junior Zack Czerwonky, and sophomore Parks Jones.
“Individual success is great, but nothing is better than winning as a team, sharing that with my teammates,” Lewis said. “To break a county record is fantastic.”
Jones broke the 100 freestyle record (48.18), beating the previous best by .04 seconds, and won the 200 freestyle (1:44.78). He also helped win the 400 freestyle relay (3:19.09) with Stowe, Sprout, and Czerwonky.
“I was coming off a tough meet, so it’s nice to be able to break a record,” Jones said. “But I love being with the team on the relays. That’s probably my favorite part.”
Lorenz broke his own record in the 100 breaststroke (58.63), besting last year’s time of 1:00.58 by two seconds.
A pair of Avon freshmen also did well for the Orioles. Westin Fink won the 500 freestyle (4:51.61) and just missed tying the record time (4:51.41) by .20 seconds. DaeQuan Quinn won the one-meter diving title, finishing with 404.15.
“I was really comfortable with my dives today and my team had great support behind me,” Quinn said. “I was just having fun out there.”
Brownsburg freshman Joe Myhre won the 100 backstroke (54.62) and narrowly missed the record by .02 seconds and Danville senior Grant Callahan won the 50 freestyle (22.47).
For the Orioles, Karr said he was very pleased with the performances of the team’s underclassmen.
“Our boys are a solid group, but the young swimmers are coming in with such confidence,” Karr said. “They expect to win and swim fast. That’s going to bode well when we get to the end of the year with sectionals.
“The competition continues to get better and are nipping at our heels. It was important to take care of business, but realize they’re right there, so it keeps us level-headed. It’s nice to win, but it’s more important to analyze how we swam and where we can improve. You get one shot, otherwise you have to wait another year. I challenged them to take advantage of an opportunity and today they did.”