By GREG MENGELT
When the Hoosier Hills Conference seeds came out on Tuesday, it was clear that Jeffersonville is a heavy favorite to bring home its fifth straight Hoosier Hills Conference championship from Columbus East on Saturday.
Unless a couple of their top swimmers come down with an illness or are kidnapped by an opposing coaching staff, the Red Devils are the inevitable champions.
“We’re pretty fortunate,” Jeff coach Keith Gast said. “I’m a coach and I hate to say that we’re the favorites, but obviously we’ve had a good run. If we show up Saturday and take care of business, I would expect to win the meet.”
“They’re so deep, there would have to be some major things happen [for Jeff not to win],” Floyd Central coach Joe Perkins admitted.
The Devils are heavy favorites in all three relays, the 100 free and the 100 butterfly with Evan Shive, the 200-yard freestyle with Timothy “T” Martin, the 200 individual medley with Max Weidekamp and the 50 free with Tyler Sariscsany.
All of those top seeds is not what makes Jeff special. That would be its depth.
The Devils have three of the top eight seeds in the 200 free, the IM, the butterfly, the 500 free, the backstroke and the breaststroke.
“That’s nice. It’s comforting,” Gast said. “The kids work really hard. I’ve been fortunate to have some good athletes in the program. Sometimes you have the numbers and sometimes you struggle. It’s awful fun when you look down at the seeds and know that almost all the guys are going to be [swimming] in the [fastest] heat.”
“When they have [seeds] two, three and four, those points add up real quick,” Perkins said.
The Highlanders are projected to easily finish second. Floyd has top seeds in Colin Lyell (100 freestyle), Marc McCormick (500 free) and the top two seeds in the 100 backstroke in Eli Anderson and Brendon Smith. The Highlanders are also seeded second to Jeff in all three relays.
“That’s pretty exciting to see those names up there in first and second,” Perkins said. “We’re hoping for great races out of everybody. Winning conference championships is also exciting for individuals.”
HOOSIER HILLS CONFERENCE
At Columbus East
200 medley relay: 1. Jeffersonville 1:40.82, 2. Floyd Central, 5. New Albany.
200 freestyle: 1. T Martin (J) 1:45.92, 2. Eli Anderson (F), 3. Zak Griffis (J), 4. Marc McCormick (F), 5. Zach Daily (J).
200 individual medley: 1. Max Weidekamp 2:04.28, 3. Noble Guyon, 5. Evan Lopez (J), 6. Sean Kennedy (J).
50 free: 1. Tyler Sariscsany (J) 22.29, 2. Colin Lyell (F), 4. Nathan Manias (F), 5. Grant Andreson (F).
1-meter diving: 1. Chris Robinson (S).
100 butterfly: 1. Evan Shive (J) 51.99, 5. Lopez (J), 7. Brendon Smith (F), 8. Michael Cain (J).
100 free: 1. Lyell (F) 49.65, 2. Griffis (J), 3. Manias (F), 4. G. Anderson (F), 8. Adam McGeron (N).
500 free: 1. Marc McCormick (F) 4:55.64, 2. Zach Daily (J), 3. Cain (J), 4. Kevin Gast (J), 7. Drake Miller (N).
200 free relay: 1. Jeffersonville 1:30.50, 2. Floyd Central, 6. New Albany.
100 backstroke: 1. E. Anderson (F) 56.22, 2. Smith (F), 3. Jacob Stacy (J), 4. Noah Boone (N), 8. Conner Gemand (J).
100 breaststroke: 1. Trever Wilson (JC) 1:02.92, 3. Guyon (F), 4. Weidekamp (J), 5. Gast (J), 6. Ben Doss (J).
400 free relay: 1. Jeffersonville 3:17.77, 2. Floyd Central, 8. New Albany.
F — Floyd Central; J — Jeffersonville; N — New Albany; JC — Jennings County; S — Seymour.