There is something to be said about breaking a school record in any sport. Whether it is an all-time-wins record, time for swimming or track, or a batting average in a season. In order to be able to accomplish such a feat, an athlete has to be willing to put in the extra time, work and effort in order to get to such a level.

The Indian River High School boys’ swimming team achieved a momentous accomplishment last week at the DIAA State swimming championships at the Rawstrom Natatorium on the campus of the University of Delaware.

The quartet of Declan Burke, Ethan Forrey, Zach Lingenfelter and Will Douds finished one spot out of a medal with their fourth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay event, with their school-record-breaking time of 3:21.83. It was the best finish in the event by any Henlopen Athletic Conference team that participated in the event.

“Our boys swam unbelievably well,” head coach Colin Crandell said of the group. “I’m so deeply proud of how they finished. They were incredible. I was literally in shock with their time drops.”

That same foursome placed fifth in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a 1:31.86, and as with the 400 relay, they were the top team from the HAC to compete in the event.

In the overall team scoring, IR finished in the top half of the 26 teams that competed, placing 12th with 66 points. Salesianum won the team championship with their 434 points. Charter School of Wilmington (360.5), Tower Hill (150), St. Mark’s (116) and Concord (115.5) rounded out the Top 5.

Douds swam a 23.03 in the 50-yard freestyle to earn his way into the finals but would wind up 16th overall in the event.

Burke also earned a spot in the finals and posted a 1:50.96 in the 200-yard freestyle. That time was good enough for a 10th-place finish.

“Just jaw-dropping how good these guys were,” Crandell concluded. “They have worked so hard all year. For them to get that school record was just so great to see.”

Unfortunately for the IR girls’ team, none of the girls were able to advance to the finals. However, Emma Barthelmess did finish in the Top 25, at 25th in the 200-yard freestyle with her time of 2:12.35.

Barthlemess, Jordan Gonzales, Lexi Hall and Isabella Scharp joined forces to finish 20th in the 200-yard freestyle relay with their time of 1:52.16.

All in all, it was not a bad performance for a team that has battled to find consistent pool time, and then had their pool closed mid-season for refurbishment. Their hard work and dedication continues into the off-season, where many of these same faces will look to improve on their showings from this year.

Staff Reporter

Jason has been in journalism for 20 years. He moved to Coastal Delaware in August 2017 with his wife, Jessica, and their daughters, Kylie, 17, and Grace, 12. He has a passion for high-school sports and especially values the relationships that builds.