Swim team dives into competition against Franklin

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B. Bradley

Cira Mazdai ’24 swims at a December 16 meet.

Emma Matlock, Staff Writer

On Saturday when Center Grove dives into the pool, the Trojans are looking to do one thing. Defeat Franklin.

“Franklin didn’t lose any big swimmers last year. They lost a few, but the bulk of their team is in their seniors and juniors this year,” senior Ethan Martin said. “The only thing they lack is depth. They can win races, but they struggle to come through with the 3rd, 4th and 5th place finishes.”

This year, Franklin is armed with swimmers Cade Oliver and Mac Ratzclaff on their boys team. Oliver has finished third in both the 200 IM and 100 Backstroke in the IHSAA Boys State Championship. Ratzclaff on the other hand has finished third in the 200 Freestyle and fourth in the 100 Freestyle at the state meet.

According to junior Ben Clarkston, Franklin might be one of the toughest teams they’ll face.

“They have a lot of talented swimmers,” Clarkston said. “I know our team is ready for anyone we have to face, so I think it’ll be an exciting matchup.”

Last season, the Trojans won County, and the team is trying to keep the same momentum to keep their head above water for this meet.

“[Some] key races Saturday are the 500 free, 50 free, 100 breast and the relays,” Martin said. “It will be pretty hard for us. We are the complete opposite of Franklin. We have a few fast swimmers like myself, Garrett Christ and Ben Clarkston, but the bulk of our team is in our sophomore class. The sophomores are gonna have to step up and really push themselves to place as high as possible.”

On Franklin’s girl’s swim team, they bring in swimmers like Gracey Payne, Kabria Chapman, Lillian Lacey and Paige Lawrence. Gracey Payne won a state title in both the 50 Y and 100 Freestyle.

Other swimmers on Franklin’s team like Chapman finished second in the 100 Breaststroke, while Lacey hit fifth place in the 100 Backstroke.

“Franklin has a very strong senior class with multiple D1 commits. However their younger swimmers aren’t as strong,” junior Kiersten Smith said. “I think they have very solid people in the no. 1 spot, but our team can definitely compete with their no. 2 and 3 spots.”

Smith says that the relays might be the events where the Trojans have the highest chance of going to state.

“So far we have senior Jill Mitchell who is our most prominent breaststroker and will definitely place well at sectionals this year, along with junior Kiersten Smith who is an astounding sprint freestyler who’s competitive drive is unmatched,” senior Devin Trammel said. “There is also junior Kylie Treat who is new to the team this year but proving she has earned her spot as one of the fastest sprint freestylers.”

Trammel says that a win for the girls team would be electrifying and would completely change the pace of girls swimming.

“It has been awhile since Center Grove has beat Franklin and I think our girls team agrees it’s time for that to change. We have been working hard to show what we are made of and will bring that exact same determination and competitiveness to sectionals this year,” Trammel said.