By Corey Elliott
AVON — Eleven teams competed at the North Central girls’ swimming sectional on Saturday where the host Panthers earned a trip to the state final in dominating fashion. They scored 520 points on the day — 161 points ahead of second-place Brownsburg.
Ben Davis placed seventh with 141 points. They were five points shy of obtaining sixth-place from Cardinal Ritter and four points ahead of eighth-place Park Tudor.
It was a final send off for the few seniors of the Giants’ swim team but some underclassmen did get their first taste of postseason experience.
After preliminaries two days before, the Giants advanced just seven people to Saturday. They competed in seven of the 12 main heats and were only absent completely from two events.
“We basically swam better than 50 percent of the times in prelims and better than 50 percent of the times in the finals,” Ben Davis coach George Fastrich said. “We made some adjustments ... just so we could focus more on individual events.”
Their advancement was a testament to the Giants’ youth as more than half of their seniors made the cut. In fact, four seniors, a junior, and two freshmen swam Saturday.
The Giants have also dealt with their share of injuries and sicknesses over the course of the season. On Saturday they had a ready-to-go team, thanks to measures Fastrich took during the season, resting and substituting swimmers out when necessary.
“Everybody was pretty healthy,” he said. “One of our divers had a quad injury, but she still went so, overall, we were pretty much healthy.”
The senior heavy 200 medley relay team of Katie McKain, Maddie Holmes, Morgan Stovall, and Kimmy Gramer placed sixth at 2:07.66. Individually, each girl competed in at least two more events.
Holmes placed fifth in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free. Stovall finished 16th in the 200 free and the 100 backstroke, and Gramer finished 16th in the 50 and 100 free.
McKain finished seventh in the 200 IM and ninth in the 100 backstroke. Her final time in the backstroke at 1:04.35 improved from her prelim time of about two seconds.
Freshman Nicole Zellers finished 16th in the 500 free with a time of 6:43.14.
“Katie McKain, she ended up with a top 10 time in our 100 backstroke and Nicole Zellers dropped a total of about 12 seconds on her 500 free,” Fastrich said.
The other relay team of Holmes, Gramer, senior Alis Marrero, and junior Judith Medina finished sixth with a time of 1:58.41 in the 200 free relay. They were a second shy of obtaining fifth from Speedway.
Fellow freshman Maddie Cook finished ninth in one-meter diving with a score of 226.3 and Marrero finished a spot ahead with a score of 227.3.