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February 22, 2012

POOLSIDE: Area swimmers prepare to finish strong

Jeffersonville, Floyd Central, New Albany swimmers set for state

JEFFERSONVILLE — This Saturday’s IHSAA Boys’ Swimming and Diving State Tournament Meet at Indiana University Natatorium comes with high expectations for the Jeffersonville swim team. 

Fresh off of a win at the Floyd Central Sectional in which the Red Devils claimed first place in nine of 12 events, the Jeffersonville team is eyeing a top-10 finish at the state meet. 

Jeff swimmer John Davis narrowly missed the cut in the 200 free, but the Red Devils will bring a lot of talent to Indianapolis this weekend. 

Zach Blankenbeker and T Martin carry the highest expectations coming into the meet for Jeff, but Evan Shive, Lucas Hennegan, Austin Smith and Ty Arthur must also score points in relay events for the Red Devils to reach their goals.

Getting to the state meet means different things to different swimmers, Jeffersonville coach Keith Gast said. 

“For some, it means everything,” Gast said. “John Davis not getting there. Evan Shive and Lucas Hennegan working these past several years ... just to be a state qualifier (this season). For others, Zach and T, Austin and Ty, it means fulfilling their goals, a step towards a bigger goal. They have had the excitement of calling themselves state qualifiers. Now they want to get in those final heats and have a shot at calling themselves state champions.” 

Blankenbeker, a senior, is set to swim in two individual events and two relay events. He’s seeded 12th in the 200 free and 21st in the 500 free, but Gast says those numbers hardly represent what Blankenbeker will do at state. 

“Zach was fifth in the 200 and third in the 500 last year,” Gast pointed out. “While his sectional times don’t have him seeded that high going into Friday night (for qualifiers), we never planned for them to be. Zach is an experienced, big-meet swimmer and he knows how to and when to give his best performances.” 

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