BROWNSBURG — A long wait finally ended Saturday as the sectional host Bulldogs claimed their first girls’ swimming postseason title in 24 years.
With 460.5 points, Brownsburg easily outpaced second-place Pike (371) to deliver the sectional crown.
“We had a meeting talking about the goal of winning it after the IHSAA finalized the sectional assignments,” said Brownsburg coach Josh Saylor, whose program last won a sectional in 1990. “With the draw, we knew we had a chance to win it, but everybody needed to be on board with that goal.”
Brownsburg won five events, including the first out of the gate, as Tia Scoggan, Grace Fulwider, Kierra Watson and Madison Kehr took the 200 medley relay in a time that set a new school record by nearly three seconds.
“They won that emphatically,” Saylor said. “I always try to load that event so it can lift everyone else up. They came out and blew the field away and that gave everybody a boost.”
That was the beginning of a big day for Fulwider. The Bulldog senior set a new school mark and qualified for Junior Nationals in the 100 breaststroke, and won the 200 IM by over six seconds.
“She’s a quiet kid who doesn’t draw attention to herself,” Saylor said. “She was nervous because she didn’t swim all that well in Thursday’s prelims, so I thought briefly about saying something to her. I decided to let her be, because of the confidence I have in her, and she was a fantastic leader and did what she needed to do.”
Watson was a multi-winner, as she also took the 100 butterfly, and A.J. Moll won the 500 freestyle by nearly 16 seconds. With a third-place finish, Danielle LeClerc advanced to the diving regional.
It was a day the Bulldogs had looked forward to since practice began.
“They worked for this all season long,” Saylor said. “They were selfless and committed, and a model of togetherness. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
While five competitors qualified for state, with alternates, more than that will be at IUPUI for Saturday’s state meet. In the two previous seasons, just one made it through.
“Just having the experience, especially with many of them being young and coming back, being on deck at state is a lot different than being in the stands,” Saylor said. “Being down in the pressure cooker opens your eyes a little bit, so it’s a great opportunity for us moving forward to say, ‘This is where we want to be in the future.’”
— Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports writer Brent Glasgow on Twitter @BGlasgow37.