By Jeff Robison
Ben Davis senior swimmer Cole Crouch ended his competitive high school career Friday night at the IHSAA Boys’ State Swimming and Diving Finals at the IUPUI Natatorium.
Crouch, competing in the first heat of the 50 freestyle, missed out by one spot from advancing to Saturday’s competition in the meet as he placed 17th in the Friday night preliminary round.
Crouch swam in the first of four heats in his event Friday, a placement based on his sectional qualifying time of 21.84.
That time ranked him only 25th coming into the event, but his 21.62 sprint Friday night was third in the heat and improved his overall position by eight spots.
Despite coming up shy of last year’s 16th-place finish and Saturday’s consolation appearance, Crouch was upbeat about his performance.
That performance came with a little adversity as Crouch had his suit ripped just minutes prior to the race.
“I gave it my all, and I could not be any prouder,” Crouch said. “I tried to forget about my suit, and my concentration was a little askew, but I had a great start.”
Ben Davis coach George Fastrich gave a glowing critique of Crouch’s race.
“Cole had a really good swim,” Fastrich said. “He had a breathing issue, and we really focused on his start. Tonight, he had a really good start, though his turns and finish were a little bit off. But I’m proud of how he swam and dropped time.”
Fastrich also praised Crouch for both his final appearance and his Ben Davis swimming career.
“He has a good head on his shoulders and mentally he’s really tough,” Fastrich said. “He was a great leader and really set standards for everyone to perform above what they were capable of doing.”
Though Saturday ended his high school career, Crouch will swim collegiately at Wabash College next year.
“I hope I helped pave the way for swimming at Ben Davis,” Crouch said. “The future is bright. I’m going to continue at Wabash. They have great coaching and teammates there, and I hope they push me even more.”