It was all about the seniors for the Indian River High School swim team last Thursday, Feb. 2.
After getting the morning started with co-captain Lindsey Grow officially signing on to continue her swimming career at Milligan College, the Indians sent Grow and seniors McKenna Burke, Erin Haden and Andy Elsburg out on a high note with wins over Polytech and a Senior Night ceremony held at the break.
“They’re a special group. They leave an impression on you,” said IR head coach Colin Crandell, who coached Grow on the Sea Colony Sharks from the age of 6 and has known Haden since she was a junior lifeguard on his patrol in Bethany Beach. “They’re like daughters to us by now. So, it was bitter in the sense that they’ll be leaving us, but also sweet, because you know that they’re going on to leave an impression on other people the same way.”
The boys’ finished the meet with a 116-48 win over the Panthers, while the girls’ got back on track with 97-56 win.
“We definitely wanted to win on our Senior Night,” said Burke after the meet.
“I think tonight definitely motivated us,” added Grow. “We’ve always been motivated, but when you get in kind of a rut, tonight definitely helped get us out of it.”
One of the most impressive performances on the night was from Elsburg, who shed nearly 5 seconds off her 200-freestyle time, for a personal record.
“It means a lot to me,” said Elsburg of the PR on her Senior Night. “It motivated me to swim harder, because I knew it was Senior Night and it was one of my last meets swimming.”
Other top senior performances for the girls’ on the night included Burke taking the 100-butterfly and 500-freestyle, Grow finishing first in the 200 IM and 100-breaststroke, and Haden taking the top spot in the 100-freestyle.
IR sophomore Sarah Roehl earned a first-place finish in the 200-freestyle, with a time of 129.93.
On the boys’ side of things, Crandell mixed up the lineup in preparation for the Henlopen Conference championships this Saturday, but that didn’t keep the Indians from sweeping every event against the Panthers, as they coasted to 11-1 overall on the season.
“We are so proud of them, and they support us a lot,” Burke said of a so-far historic season for the boys.
“We’re so excited for them,” added Haden. “It’s so exciting watching them at meet.”
While both the boys’ and girls’ squads finished the regular season with losses to Caesar Rodney, sitting out swimmers for that rescheduled meet was a strategic move by the coaching staff, to help them be able to perform at their best when the championships roll around on Saturday.
“I wanted to challenge some of our other swimmers. We’re trying to get some state cuts, so it was really a mixed bag tonight,” Crandell said of the Polytech meet. “We’re throwing some different things at the team to challenge them to keep swimming hard, but also just to see what else is there.”
The Henlopen Conference championships will be held at Sussex Academy on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 10 a.m.
200 Medley Relay: G. Bomhardt, B. Shuart, J. Douds, D. Tuttle (IR) — 1:55.55
200 Freestyle: M. Barnes (IR) — 2:05.62
200 IM: D. Tuttle (IR) — 2:30.79
50 Freestyle: J. Kohr (IR) — 24.14
100 Butterfly: B. Shuart (IR) — 1:03.51
100 Freestyle: J. Kohr (IR) — 56.04
500 Freestyle: M. Barnes (IR) — 6:05
200 Freestyle Relay: D. Tuttle, G. Bomhardt, M. Barnes, M. Kohr (IR) — 2:06.5
100 Backstroke: B. Shuart (IR) — 1:06
100 Breaststroke: D. Tuttle (IR) — 1:15.3
400 Freestyle Relay: J. Kohr, M. Kohr, M. Barnes, B. Shuart — 3:55.17
200 Medley Relay: M. Burke, S. Roehl, E. Haden, L. Grow (IR) — 2:08.80
200 Freestyle: S. Roehl (IR) — 1:29.93
200 IM: L. Grow (IR) — 2:30.20
50 Freestyle: G. Stang (Poly) — 28.57
100 Butterfly: M. Burke (IR) — 1:07.75
100 Freestyle: E. Haden (IR) — 1:05.78
500 Freestyle: M. Burke (IR) — 6:39.18
200 Freestyle Relay: L. Grow, S. Roehl, M. Burke, E. Haden (IR) — 1:57.95
100 Backstroke: G. Stang (Poly) — 1:13.13
100 Breaststroke: L. Grow (IR) — 1:18.54
400 Freestyle Relay: G. Stang, K. Koching, K. Ander, D. Davis (Poly) — 4:55.84