Girls swimming and diving begins postseason with goal of winning sectional title

Rachel Ingle, Staff Writer

After five months of grueling morning practices, countless dual and championship meets and hard work, Center Grove’s girl’s swim team is in the midst of preparing for post-season, which kicks off, as of now, at home on Saturday, Feb. 5 with prelims and finals on Monday, Feb. 7.

Not only will the sectional championship be held at home for the first time since the early 2000’s, but also the Lady Trojans will be looking to take home a sectional title for the first time since 2015. However, this title will not come easy. Franklin Community holds the past six sectional titles, and their team returns several swimmers who swam at state last season or hold the top seed in this year’s sectional. With a Johnson County Championship title already won, Center Grove will once again look to their trademark depth in order to reclaim the sectional title after a six-year drought.

200-yard freestyle

Lara Phipps (seeded 2nd), Kiersten Smith (4) and Kylie Treat (9) will be swimming the 200-yard freestyle for the Trojans. With sophomore Lara Phipps, last year’s MVP, holding the top seed for CG with a time of 1:54.75, she will have to face Franklin’s Lilianna Ratzlaff (1) and Southport’s Caroline Reinke (3) for the first place title and the state qualifying spot.  

200-yard individual medley

Kayla Fischer (5), Clara Brandon (6) and Laney Brooks (8) are the Trojan’s competitors for the 200-yard individual medley. With the Trojan’s lineup for this event being entirely underclassmen, these swimmers have to go against some more experienced competition, such as Franklin’s Allison Lacy (1) and Jyllian Antle (4), in this event in order to advance to finals and combine to score some major points.

50-yard freestyle

Grace Clarkston (2), Lexi Stuart (4) and Tenley Wilkins (5) will be stepping up to the blocks for the Trojans in the 50-yard freestyle. With Johnson County champion, sophomore Grace Clarkston in this event the Trojans have a chance of an individual 50-yard freestyle first place title, as Clarkston’s seed time is just 0.15 seconds behind top-seeded Noelle Bryan from Southport. 

1-meter diving

Mia Prusiecki, Molly McIntyre and Megan McIntyre are the divers for the Trojans. Last year’s Sectional champion and state runner-up, Prusiecki is more than capable of a second sectional title, as she placed first at the MIC and Johnson County Championships and has broken the school record multiple times already this season. 

100-yard butterfly

Lara Phipps (1), Kayla Fischer (6) and Mallory McDonald (9) will be taking on the 100-yard butterfly this weekend. Phipps holds Center Grove’s only top seed for an individual event, posting a time of 57.61, and was also the Johnson County champion in this event. Greenwood’s Reagan Graves (2) and Naomi Weaver (3) are both over a second behind Phipps. 

100-yard freestyle

Kiersten Smith (4), Lexi Stuart (5) and Kylie Treat (6) are the Trojan’s top competitors in the 100-yard freestyle. As the only senior seeded in the top 5, Smith will have underclassmen talent to compete with for a finals seed, such as Franklin’s Liliana Ratzlaff (1) and Jenna Miller (2).

500-yard freestyle

Izzie Ferguson (7), Rachel Ingle (8) and Clara Brandon (11) are the distance swimmers for CG. With only eight seconds separating the 7th through 13th seeds, prelims will offer some very tight races as swimmers fight for a top 8 finish to secure a spot in the finals. 

100-yard backstroke

Grace Clarkston (5), Kennedy Beckner (8) and Mallory McDonald (9) are the Trojan’s competitors for the 100-yard backstroke. Sophomore Grace Clarkston has shown improvement this season and is already seeded ahead of her freshman record, placing 6th at finals last season. Clarkston will have to face Franklin’s Allison Lacey (1) and Southport’s Caroline Reinke (2), both sub-minute competitors.

100-yard breaststroke

Laney Brooks (7), Laney Martlage (8) and Maddy Howell (10) are the breaststrokers for the Trojans. This event will offer very close races at prelims, as only 1.5 seconds separates Brooks from Franklin’s Olivia Stone (3), leaving room for Brooks to potentially score more points for the Trojans than her seed. 

200-yard medley relay

Possible line-ups: Sydney Adams, Kennedy Beckner, Laney Brooks, Grace Clarkston, Kayla Fischer, Lara Phipps, Lexi Stuart and Tenley Wilkins With Greenwood (3), Franklin (2), and Southport (1) all seeded ahead of CG, the fourth place seed, for this relay, Beckner, Adams, Fischer and Wilkins swimming the relay at prelims, will have to compete with these for a good finals seed.  

200-yard freestyle relay 

Possible line-ups: Grace Clarkston, Kayla Fischer, Cira Mazdai, Lara Phipps, Kiersten Smith, Lexi Stuart, Kylie Treat and Tenley Wilkins Holding a first-place Johnson County title and the top seed in this event, Smith, Wilkins, Mazdai, and Treat, swimming the relay at prelims, have a county outsider, Southport (2), to beat. Southport has a strong lineup of sprint freestylers this season that will be tough competitors. 

400-yard freestyle relay 

Possible line-ups: Grace Clarkston, Kayla Fischer, Rachel Ingle, Lara Phipps, Kiersten Smith, Lexi Stuart, Kylie Treat and Tenley Wilkins With Franklin (1) and Southport (2) ahead of the Trojans, and Whiteland (4) not too far behind, Wilkins, Fischer, Treat and Ingle, swimming the relay at prelims, will have a close race as they look for this relay to advance to the finals. 

While it is unclear which quartet Head Coach Jim Todd will send to finals since any combination of the eight swimmers lined up are eligible to swim, the competition within the team for that relay spot at finals is fierce. These swimmers will have to prove themselves capable at prelims if they want the chance to earn CG points toward their final score and potentially move onto state as a member of the relay.