IR swim team strokes past Tech in wake of a technicality
Swimming season is in full swing for Indian River High School, as the Indians have started off the season a perfect 3-0 record, with wins against Milford, Delmarva Christian and Sussex Tech.
In last Monday’s Tri-Meet at Howard Ennis School in Georgetown, the Indians had no problems getting past Delmarva Christian, 72-20, but they got some help in pulling out the win against Tech, 49-43.
“If we had swum the way that I predicted, we would have won outright,” head coach Colin Crandel stated. “At the end of the meet, the 200-free relay had disqualified with a false start.” Crandel went on to explain that, without the false start, Sussex Tech would have won by two points.
“The thing that was going against Tech was that it was a Tri-Meet,” Crandel continued. “What made it advantageous [for us] is Tech was only allowed to swim two in each event so they couldn’t outnumber us. When a team swims two against us, it evens it out, and that’s why we were able to win. They couldn’t score a point that we couldn’t compete against.”
Senior Carter Michael clocked in at 2:01:66 to win the 200 freestyle, and senior Merrick Kovatch took the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle with times of 2:23:48 and 6:13:20, respectively. Senior Devin Burke won the 100 butterfly, finishing with a time of 1:03:65. The Indians also took the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay and 400 free relay to win the meet.
“I think we’ve got the best core group of any other team,” Crandel claimed of his squad. “When you look at quality, we can run with any of them.”
According to Crandel, Sussex Tech is usually one of the best teams in the conference, so the win was crucial and expectations are high. With only 13 swimmers, however, the Indians will struggle to make up for points when they won’t be able to put enough swimmers in the water to compete.
“Our guys are ranked higher in the state than most of the others,” he explained. “My guys are as fast as any team — we’re just outnumbered. We’ve got those fast swimmers, and we know we can get a lot of first-places. But if the other team can put three swimmers up and we can’t, we automatically lose points.”
To try to implement a feeder program in the area, in the early 2000s Crandel helped start the Sharks, aiming to get local youth into competitive swimming. His senior swimmers this year were among the first crop of Sharks swimmers that he ever coached.
While the program has been successful, Sharks swimmers don’t always enroll at Indian River when they enter high school and, without their own pool, it’s been difficult to generate more interest for the winter sport. That’s left the Indians short in numbers in the pool, but strong on speed as the program aims to grow in its early years.
The Indians were set to face what will likely be their toughest opponent of the year in Cape Henlopen High School on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 3:30 p.m. (after Coastal Point press time). To make pulling out the win even more difficult, they’ll be swimming without Carter Michael, who is considered the team’s best swimmer but who can’t make the Dec. 19 meet.
“We swim Cape on Thursday, but we won’t have Carter,” said Crandel. “To me, it’s no worries — we can outswim them but, all in all, they’ve got numbers. What I want out of this meet is just good swims. I’m going to put the best racers I can against their best racers.”