Five Indian River swimmers qualify for states
Facing a Seaford team with only five swimmers last Tuesday night, the Indian River High School swim team’s main competition was themselves.
“We knew we had a meet we were going to win,” explained Head Coach Colin Crandel after the win. “That’s not to discredit then — they didn’t have the numbers. For once, we had the numbers.”
Despite literally swimming against themselves when Seaford didn’t have enough swimmers to qualify for events, the Indians saw two swimmers qualify for state competition and set two records on Senior Night.
“I asked them to break records tonight, and they did,” Crandel said of the inspired performance. “It’s hard to challenge yourself when they swam by themselves the whole race. It shows what they can do when they put their minds to it.”
Senior Carter Michael broke his butterfly record of 58.2 seconds, clocking in at 57.75, and the team also broke their Medley Relay record of 151.63 when they came in at 150.77. The swimmers for the relay included Michael, senior Merrick Kovatch, senior Ben Boonin and junior Keaton Burke.
“It was Senior Night,” emphasized Crandel. “I wanted them to end the night with their names on the board. [The expectation was] let’s get some records and some qualifications, and we did that.”
Not only were the Indians breaking records, but they also qualified for two more events to compete in at states, with Burke qualifying for the 100-meter butterfly and sophomore Mason Sanders qualifying, as well. Burke and Sanders have already qualified for other events at states earlier this season, as have Michael, Kovatch and Bounin.
“It was nice to see Keaton actualize his goal,” Crandel described. “Mason just wanted to see what he could do and qualified in his first attempt.”
The Indians will compete in the Henlopen Conference Championship this Saturday at Lake Forest, starting at 10 a.m. — and Crandel has high hopes for when they head to the first round of the DIAA State Championship at the University of Delaware on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
“We’re going to be outnumbered, but we have legitimate chances coming from conference championships,” Crandel said of his expectations going forward. “I’m excited for them. Going into the meet, we’re ranked very high, so the expectation is we walk away with some conference champions in their respective events and some broken records.”