By GREG MENGELT
Jeffersonville junior Evan Shive is coming off of a spectacular sophomore season in which he was a state finalist in all four events in which he swam.
In the 2013 state finals, Shive made the final heat and placed eighth in the 100-yard backstroke and was 20th in the state in the 100 butterfly. He also helped the Red Devils’ 200 medley relay team to a sixth-place finish and the 400 freestyle relay team to fifth.
Shive will likely swim the same four events in the 2014 postseason and Gast believes he can finish in the top-8 of all four.
“He’s been faster in the fly than last year and his 100 backstroke is within a half-second,” Gast said. “We feel real good about where he’s starting the season. I’d like to see him final in both events.”
The Red Devils have finished seventh as a team in the last two state finals. Gast said Shive is the key to Jeff finishing even higher in 2014.
“Obviously, if we’re going to be a top-10 team for the third year in a row, he’s got to final in both of his events,” Gast said. “Individually, we’re hoping to score 100 points and I’d like to see him score 30, so he’s a huge part of our team success.”
On Monday afternoon, Shive sat down with sports editor Greg Mengelt for the News and Tribune’s ongoing “On the Spot” series.
QUESTION: Personally, how are things going for you so far this season?
SHIVE: “It’s been pretty good. My times are great and where I want them to be, and pretty much even faster. I’m hoping to get them faster by sectional time and see what I can do.”
Q: What are your immediate goals? What do you hope to accomplish over Christmas break?
SHIVE: “During the break, I hope to get my times better. We have big meets coming up at IUPUI and Jasper, teams we usually don’t swim against. So I’m trying to see where I place against the big teams up there.”
Q: How do you balance your winter training, where you’re wearing yourself down with two hard practices a day, against what you want to what you’d like to accomplish in those meets?
SHIVE: “It’s hard but you’ve just got to push through. The end of the race is always the hardest. The races are won when other people wear out and you stay strong in the end.”
Q: What do you think of the winter workouts?
SHIVE: “They’re pretty tough right now. It’s pretty hard on you.”
Q: Do you plan on swimming the same events individually that you did last year?
SHIVE: “I do. I’m going to swim the 100 back and the 100 fly again and probably the  medley relay and the  free relay.”
Q: What kind of goals have you set for yourself for the end of the season?
SHIVE: “Me and coach have some goal times for sectionals and goal times for state, and I’m just going to see if I can do those and maybe go faster and show the world what I’ve got.”
Q: So you’re not thinking about any certain place at state?
SHIVE: “Last year I got eighth in the 100 back and somewhere above 16th in the 100 fly, and I’m trying to get those down to the top eight and even better than that.”
Q: I know you guys lost a few good swimmers from last year’s team. Team-wise, how are things going?
SHIVE: “Right now, I think we’re doing great. If someone’s going to go faster than us, they’re going to have to train harder than us. I think we’re training really hard right now.”
Q: Probably the closest competition you have in the sectional is Floyd Central. On Thursday, you beat them 114-66. Was that a statement?
SHIVE: “There was a statement made in everyone’s head. There was an article saying that we lost some seniors and they were going to try to beat us. We went in there and beat them and we showed them what we’ve got. They’re going to have to do better to beat us.”
Q: How much is on your shoulders personally to helping the team place higher than it has the last two years?
SHIVE: “I think it’s all on my shoulders. I have to train harder than I ever have before and put in more practice time.”
Q: Last year you were a sophomore and you made the state in two events. Did you surprise yourself?
SHIVE: “I did. When I touched the wall, I couldn’t believe that was in me.”
Q: How did you get to where you are now? What did it take to become a state finalist swimmer?
SHIVE: “A lot of hard work and a long of time, and a lot of giving things up that some people might not want to give up — like going out and hanging out with friends on a night with no homework and no school the next day and coming in at 5 a.m. and trying to beat the guy next to you.”
Q: The New Year is coming up. The calendar turns to 2014. Does that mean anything to you?
SHIVE: “Not exactly. It feels like the same year. I usually don’t even remember what year it is sometimes. I just keep going in what I’m doing.”