Indian River swimming takes first Henlopen South title
Not only did both the boys’ and girls’ Indian River High School swim teams win their first Henlopen South championship last week — both teams broke records while doing it.
Senior Carter Michael clocked in at 49:07 in the 100-meter freestyle — taking first place at the meet held at Lake Forest and earning him an HAC championship. Michael, along with Merrick Kovatch, Mason Sanders and Ben Boonin, also won the HAC championship in the 400-meter relay and tied for first in the 200-meter relay, clocking in at 1:33:76. The boys took third place overall for the entire Henlopen Conference.
“Their overall goal for the program is to become a stronghold in the southern part of Delaware,” said head coach Colin Crandel of what the title means. “In the next 10 years or so, I want college coaches and everyone looking at us as just as strong” as northern schools, he said.
The girls’ team also locked up a South title and placed fourth overall in the entire Henlopen Conference, as their success continues its escalation over the past few seasons.
“All the time they put in really paid off,” said coach Donna Smith. “For them, swimming can’t be just seasonal — they really do have to swim year-round, and a lot of our swimmers are beginning to understand and respect that. That’s what these girls are doing.”
Freshman Lindsey Grow placed second overall in the 200-meter individual medley, setting a school record after clocking in at 2:38:53. Grow combined with senior Karlie Smith, junior Marissa Fox and sophomore Lauren McCoy to take second overall in the 200-meter medley relay at 2:16:51, as well. And McCoy took second individually after clocking in at 1:13:63 in the 100-meter butterfly.
“There were a lot of school records broken Saturday,” said Coach Smith. “They know their hard work has paid off.”
Despite the success at conferences, neither team is content with ending the season there, and both Smith and Crandel expect their squads to make a splash at states later this month.
With Grow, Karlie Smith, Fox and McCoy all qualifying for at least one event at preliminaries, Coach Smith is expecting their best outcome yet.
“This may be the first year that we have girls make it to the finals or the top 16,” she said. “It could be the first state meet that our girls make it to the Saturday finals.”
Crandel has similar expectations for his squad and is putting the emphasis more on improved times than anything else.
“The goal is states for everybody, and to always better your time,” noted Crandel. “With a better time, the second goal would be finals. If they improve on time, they should be in the top eight.”
After last month’s multiple snow-related schedule changes, Crandel said he is glad to have some time to focus on training before the state finals.
“These next two weeks are imperative,” he emphasized. “It’s nice to have time to focus on the training.”
Preliminaries for the boys’ team begin on Wednesday, Feb. 26, and for the girls’ team on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the University of Delaware. If all goes well for them, the Indians could have multiple swimmers make it to the state finals on Saturday, March 1.