While Indian River High School does not have the luxury of a swimming pool in its school district, that has not kept their swimmers from reaching their goals during the 2018-2019 campaign.
A total of 15 IR swimmers will be among more than 100 athletes participating in the annual DIAA swimming showcase at the University of Delaware this weekend. Preliminary swims were to begin on Wednesday, Feb. 20, but had to be postponed due to the wintry weather across the state.
IR head coach Colin Crandell said he has been simply amazed with how well both the boys and girls have done this season.
“Honestly, they have far exceeded my expectations,” Crandell deadpanned. “I thought we’d have a tough year because we lost a really talented relay group. I just could not have imagined breaking the records these guys have this year.”
Seniors Mitch McGee, Michael Barnes, Max Kohr, Dylan Tuttle and Patrick Banks have teamed up with junior Will Douds, and sophomores Declan Burke and Zach Lingenfelter, to break several school relay records.
With the lack of their own pool, and limited pool time available to train throughout the week, having this number of swimmers qualify for the state meet is especially impressive.
“As a coach, I look to control what I can control for them,” said Crandell. “It forces me to emphasize quality over quantity. Obviously, I’d like more time in a pool, but we have certainly utilized our limited time well. Once they buy in the way these guys bought in, the old saying of ‘success breeds success’ really was true.”
Barnes is seeded fourth in the 50 freestyle with his best time of 22.33 this season. Kohr is also qualified for the event at 24th, as is Douds at 31st and Lingenfelter at 61st. Barnes is also seeded third in the 100 freestyle, while Kohr joins him at 23rd and Douds at 49th. Burke is the lone Indian to qualify in the 500 freestyle event, seeded 20th.
Burke and McGee each qualified in the 200 freestyle event, with the ninth and 10th best times, respectively, this season.
Banks qualified 16th in the 200 individual medley, while also qualifying 20th in the 100 breaststroke, with Tuttle seeded 23rd.
McGee also swam a state-qualifying time in the 100 butterfly, good for 18th.
Relay teams also qualified in two of the freestyle events, with another in the medley relay.
IR’s 200 free relay team qualified first overall, with the top time in the state this season of 1:31.50, which is .13 seconds faster that Charter School of Wilmington’s entry.
The Indians’ 400 free relay team is seeded fourth with their time of 3:22.53, and their 200 medley relay entry is qualified at 22nd with a time of 1:52.31.
“Our biggest focus now is, ‘Can we drop our times again?” Crandell said. “We are fully aware that there are going to be some very good times swam at this meet. The goal is always to improve your time every time out. That’s been our goal in preparing for states to this point.
“In practice, we usually only get an hour in the pool. You have to be intense for that hour. I ask them when they look up and see the time, is that the time they want to see. This has been a great group to coach, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
On the girls’ side of things, Emma Barthelmess has qualified for two individual events — 24th in the 50 free and 22nd in the 100 breaststroke. Alex Hall also qualified 54th in the 50 free.
Three relay entries for IR also qualified for states: 200 medley (28th), 200 free (27th) and 400 free (29th).
By Jason Feather