Despite having no pool to call their own, the Indian River High School boys’ swim team continues to impress each and every time they dive into the water.
Their season-opening 124-13 win over host Seaford on Friday, Jan. 15, was just another impressive display of ability and determination as the Indians swept all 11 events over the Blue Jays at the West Sussex Boys & Girls Club.
Sophomore Evan Peterson was a part of four wins overall — two individual and two relays — for the Indians, while seniors Declan Burke and Zach Lingenfelter, as well as sophomore Shane Hall, were each three-time winners for IR.
“Our first meet was a challenge,” IR head coach Colin Crandell said. “Seaford had a small team, so many races were against ourselves. I challenged the boys to race each other and establish some state cut times. We did just that.”
Burke qualified in the 200 free, 500 free and 100 free, while Jackson Donnelly and Lingenfelter both qualified in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. Hall swam a qualifying time in the 100 butterfly.
Peterson’s solo wins came in the 200 individual medley (2:36.84) and 100 backstroke (1:07.10). He also swam a winning leg for the 200 medley relay (2:04.84) with Marcos Gonzalez, Lingenfelter and Kyle Topper, and in the 400 free relay (4:01.30) with Finnegan Bellistri, Burke and Gonzalez.
Burke’s other wins came in the 200 freestyle (1:59.32) and 500 freestyle (5:40.28). Lingenfelter came first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.30, while also swimming a winning leg in the 200 free relay (1:45.04) with Bellistri, Hall and Alexander Arnold.
Hall picked up a pair of individual wins in the 100 butterfly (1:02.74) and 100 breaststroke (1:12.45). Donnelly was an individual winner in the 100 freestyle (54.40).
“The best takeaway from our meet was how many boys swam faster this meet than they did at the end of last year,” Crandell continued. “Evan Peterson and R.J. Senseny both set personal bests in their events, and are very close to state cut times as well.
“I’m mostly pleased with their effort. They could have taken the easy road and not tried as hard, but, as always, I have leaders who model excellence. Every boy swam their heart out, and many of them swam best times, like Max Forrey, Quinn Gonzalez and Kyle Topper.”
The win was especially nice to see from Crandell’s point-of-view, considering all the obstacles facing his swimmers this season.
“It’s a joy coaching them,” said Crandell. “COVID has cast such a dark shadow on school and sports for kids. They find ways to make it be bright and fun. I love seeing them. It feels like something positive in a world with so many negatives right now.”
The Indians will travel to Lake Forest on Friday, Jan. 22, to take on the Spartans, after Coastal Point press time. Results for the match will be found on the Coastal Point sports news Facebook page.