By Ryan Palencer
AVON — Each of the county girls’ swimming teams was involved in sectional action over the weekend, but only the Avon Orioles emerged as sectional champions.
“The effort was unbelievable,” Avon coach Jon Karr said. “We came in Thursday night, (in the prelims) knowing that we had to just take care of business and move forward. We did that. We had several things not go our way Thursday night. Some of the girls were down, but we just kept our heads up and we reassured them that we did the work and that we were ready to go out and swim really fast, and that’s what they did (Saturday).”
With those fast times, Avon claimed several first-place finishes. The team of Ana Walters, Miranda Fay, Liz Wishart, and Lauren Campbell opened the finals with a victory in the 200 medley relay. Hallie Jones then won the 200 free. Then Walters made it three events in a row for the Orioles, when she took the 200 IM.
Jones also won the 100 free, while the team of Jones, Wishart, Fay, and Campbell won the 200 free relay. Wishart won the 100 breaststroke and the team of Campbell, Elizabeth Kitching, Jones, and Walters capped the afternoon with a victory in the 400 free relay.
Campbell took second in the 50 free, Fay took second in the 100 fly, and Kitching claimed second in the 500 free. Walters placed second in the 100 backstroke.
The Orioles ran away with the victory, scoring 514 points. Terre Haute South Vigo finished second with 325, and Plainfield placed third with 303. The strong finish for Plainfield was greatly aided by the first and second finish of Courtney Coverdale and Molly Fears, respectively, in the diving event.
“We swam really well Thursday night (in the prelims),” Plainfield coach Chris Cavanaugh said. “It’s really tough to come back on Saturday and swim faster, but we had a lot of faster swims. I was pretty happy with (the effort) ... We go one, two, and nine (in diving). Without diving, we are not in it for a top-three finish. Diving put us up there for sure.”
In addition, the team of Victoria Vandevoorde, Lena Charles, Victoria Whicker, and Mallory Adair claimed second in the 200 free relay.
Cascade finished sixth with 150.5 points, while Tri-West took seventh with 141 and Danville followed them with 123.5.
At North Central, Brownsburg had a strong showing, finishing second to the host school in their sectional, with 359 points.
Aiding the effort was the victory of senior Madeline Ketchem in the 100 butterfly. Ketchem was also part of the second-place 200 medley relay squad of Kierra Watson, Grace Fulwider, and Madison Kehr.
“I was very pleased with the girls,” Brownsburg coach Josh Saylor said. “They’ve worked hard all year. I felt like the missing ingredients this year that we didn’t have last year was really good team chemistry. They did a really great job of coming together as a team. I felt like that made a huge difference for them this year. They had the confidence to go out there because they knew that all of the other girls on the team wanted them to be successful.”
Fulwider also took second in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke, while Watson claimed second in the 100 backstroke. The team of Ketchem, Watson, Fulwider, and Chloe Wittig took second in the 400 free relay.