CRAWFORDSVILLE -- They say you can't dig out of a hole.
The Greencastle girls' swim team came awful close on Saturday, though.
The Lady Tiger Sharks fell behind Crawfordsville early in the meet, trailing by 31 points after two events, before crawling back into the meet and taking the lead with two events to go.
Ultimately, the Athenians were too much in their home pool, defeating GHS by 20 points, 281-261.
Greencastle coach Luke Beasley was ecstatic with his girls' performance in coming back, even though the final outcome did not go their way.
"I think, obviously, we had some really awesome swims Thursday night and we put ourselves in as good a position as I could have envisioned for us to win the meet come Saturday. Right up to the end, we were still in a position to do that," Beasley said.
South Putnam finished eighth with 59 points while North Putnam was 10th with 32.
The Athenians really put a stranglehold on the meet from the opening two events. Although Greencastle had the top seed in both events, Crawfordsville won both to take a 72-41 lead.
The meet opened with an exciting 200 medley relay. Crawfordsville took the lead from Greencastle in the second half of the race to win by a half second and set a new sectional record.
Beasley was not displeased, though, as his team of Kelsey Murtagh, Sydney Terry, Melissa Ball and Erica Soster set a new school record.
"It was an awesome race, but what people might not realize is that is a 12-point swing. We really wanted to win that relay. That was something we were really hanging our hat on," Beasley said.
"It didn't go our way, but our girls got the school record," he continued. "They swam out of their minds and everyone gave it everything they had."
In the medley consolation, South Putnam's Sarah New, Jessica York, Katie Sherwood and Amanda Lund placed eighth, while North Putnam's Ryanne Lehr, Kiana Werner, Briana Smith and Katie Wilcox placed 10th.
The hole only got deeper for GHS in the 200 freestyle, as the Athenians took three of the top four spots in the race. Collins was the top GHS finisher in fifth.
Morgan Terry claimed eighth place in the consolations.
In the 200 IM, Greencastle had two swimmers in the finals, with Ball placing third and Natasha Aring coming home fifth. Emma Hazel placed eighth for the Tiger Sharks.
The 50 freestyle was where Greencastle began to turn the corner and was the best event all day for Putnam County as a whole. Murtagh and Soster were second and fourth, respectively, for GHS. Wilcox placed fifth for North Putnam.
In the consolation, Sydney Terry was ninth for Greencastle and Amanda Lund was 12th for South Putnam.
"What I really care about and what I really take away from this meet is the way our girls battled back," Beasley said. "They kept believing. They realized after the 50 freestyle, we were only down three points and this thing was going to be a battle down to the wire."
The finals of diving came next, and this was South Putnam senior Shelby Johnston's time to shine. Johnston had an 11-dive total of 305.65 points to place second. She will be moving on to the Brownsburg diving regional for the third straight year.
"Sometimes seniors pack it in a little bit, but she's worked very hard this year," South coach Joe Condon said. "I'm glad to see she's succeeded. We're certainly looking forward to Tuesday. She's got a little bit more work to do."
Greencastle's Sarah Land placed fifth, one spot short of advancing. Allysia Lollar was eighth for South Putnam.
The 100 butterfly was another event featuring three GHS swimmers. Ball placed fourth in the finals, while Melanie Bittles (eighth) and Aring (ninth) were both in the consolation heat.
Greencastle picked up its first victory of the day in the 100 freestyle, when Soster won with a 57.03.
"I think it's fantastic that we have Erica Soster, a senior, going to state in the 100 freestyle and the 200 free relay," Beasley said.
Wilcox had North's top finish of the day with a third in the 100. Collins came in fourth for GHS. Caitlin Gannaway finished eighth for the Tiger Sharks.
Morgan Terry was third in the 500 while teammates Amanda Bannon and Sara Culler placed eighth and 12th, respectively.
The Sharks's 200 free relay of Murtagh, Soster, Collins and Ball held its top seed to win with a 1:43.26. The relay win was big, bringing Greencastle to within two points of Crawfordsville.
In the consolation race, South Putnam made the most of its positioning, with Tabitha Arnold, Samantha Tomasino, Chelsea Vance and Lund winning the heat to place seventh overall. The NP team of Smith, Lehr, Werner and Wilcox placed 11th.
Creeping closer to the Athenians through several events, GHS finally took the lead after an amazing performance from Murtagh in the 100 backstroke. The junior dropped more than three seconds from her seed time to win the event and set a sectional record with a 58.41.
"That was huge for Kelsey. We had been working on her backstroke all year long and she hadn't put it all together. You work on it all the time, so you shouldn't just have this miraculous jump," Beasley said. "But she turned it on today. She was committed. She was focused."
Hazel placed eighth for GHS in backstroke.
These two performances added up to a 229-222 lead for Greencastle following the event.
While it was an exciting moment for the GHS swimmers and fans, Crawfordsville had too many entrants in the final two events and were almost certain to retake the lead, short of disqualifications.
In the 100 breaststroke, Sydney Terry placed seventh while Gannaway was 10th. South's Jessica York was 11th.
In the final event, Greencastle needed a miracle that did not come. Crawfordsville captured the top spot, while the GHS team of Aring, Bittles, Sydney Terry and Collins placed fourth, bringing the meet to its final margin.
"Hats off to Crawfordsville. Coach (Mark) Hesse runs an excellent program. They're top of the line when it comes to their preparation," Beasley said. "We were able to make it a really interesting and exciting meet.
"I think we really made some big strides today as a program in that we weren't bowing down and we weren't afraid. We showed that we were here to compete and here to win," he continued.
South's relay team once again made the most it could of a consolation entry. Arnold, Tomasino, Vance and Lund won the heat and placed seventh.
"These girls swam as good on Saturday as I've ever had a team swim," Condon said of the Eagles. "They all did lifetime bests today on the relays. And then, my 50 freestyler also did a lifetime best. My breaststroker did hers on Thursday. We're very happy with the finish of this season."
Although there were few high placements outside of Wilcox, North coach Wesley Richardson also came away happy.
"I was proud of all of them. I hope to do just as well if not better next year. We need to improve our cardio and we need to work on starts and turns," Richardson said.
For GHS, the attention now turns to the IHSAA State Finals this Friday at the IUPUI Natatorium. Beasley said preparation for the finals can be difficult, as the entire season is about conditioning for sectional and a swimmer's body may have trouble trying to peak again one week later. His confidence is unwavering, though.
"I think our girls are going to be ready to go. I think they're going to take the confidence from this meet and transfer it to there," he said. "Hopefully they'll have a good week of practice where they believe that they belong."
South Putnam's Johnston advances to Tuesday's diving regional at Brownsburg High School. Greencastle's Erica Soster, Kelsey Murtagh, Erika Collins and Melissa Ball advance to the IHSAA State Finals at 6 p.m. Friday at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.
Girls' Swimming Sectional
Crawfordsville 281, Greencastle 261, Southmont 218.5, Western Boone 179, North Montgomery 154, Seeger 78, Fountain Central 61.5, South Putnam 59, South Vermillion 40, North Putnam 32, Attica 17, North Vermillion 6
200 Medley Relay -- 1. Crawfordsville 153.59*, 2. Greencastle (Murtagh, S. Terry, Ball, Soster) 1:54.08, 3. Western Boone 1:54.13, 4. North Montgomery 2:03.37, 5. Seeger 2:08.69, 6. Southmont 2:11.47. Consolation: 7. Fountain Central 2:10.35, 8. South Putnam (New, York, Sherwood, Lund) 2:11.73, 9. South Vermillion 2:12.46, 10. North Putnam (Lehr, Werner, B. Smith, Wilcox) 2:14.61, 11. North Vermillion 2:39.42.
200 Freestyle -- 1. Fairfield Cr 2:01.21, 2. Howland Cr 2:01.32, 3. Dove Sm 2:07.06, 4. Carrier Cr 2:07.44, 5. Collins Gr 2:08.51, 6. Kinslow WB 2:15.47. Consolation: 7. Hatch Sm 2:11.92, 8. M. Terry Gr 2:12.76, 9. Thompson NM 2:16.84, 10. Emmert WB 2:18.92, 11. Hollis Se 2:19.48, 12. Bowman Sm 2:22.07.
200 IM -- 1. Robinson Cr 2:13.45, 2. Jarrett WB 2:15.11, 3. Ball Gr 2:22.74, 4. Jarivs Sm 2:32.84, 5. Aring Gr 2:39.28, 6. Lowe FC 2:39.51. Consolation: 7. Hunt C 2:37.55, 8. Hazel G 2:41.08, 9. Kelp C 2:41.24, 10. Huckstep Sm 2:43.92, 11. Russell SV 2:45.67, 12. Bohlander NM 2:46.63.
50 Freestyle -- 1. Mishler Sm 24.78, 2. Murtagh Gr 25.21, 3. Perkins WB 26.51, 4. Soster Gr 26.69, 5. Wilcox NP 26.81, 6. Haddock Se 27.04. Consolation: 7. Detro Sm 26.42, 8. Redmaster NM 27.32, 9. S. Terry Gr 27.40, 10. Simpson NM 27.70, 11. Harris Sm 27.93, 12. Lund SP 28.10.
Diving (11 dives) -- 1. Gregg WB 335.65, 2. Johnston SP 305.65, 3. Simmons Cr 268.65, 4. Fouty Sm 262.80, 5. Land Gr 255.20, 6. Nichols NM 253.95, 7. Morgan Cr 231.80, 8. Lollar SP 227.45, 9. Porter NM 220.95, 10. McIntire Sm 219.30, 11. Bowen WB 214.10, 12. Daugherty FC 208.85. Semifinalists (8 dives): 13. Poor Gr 159.10, 14. Ellingwood FC 138.45, 15. Leister SV 136.25, 16. Clark Se 128.45. Preliminaries (5 dives): 17. Good Gr 87.95, 18. Morris Se 78.90.
100 Butterfly -- 1. Fairfield Cr 59.37, 2. McIlrath NM 1:00.69, 3. Robertson Cr 1:02.27, 4. Ball Gr 1:02.60, 5. Dove Sm 1:04.44, 6. Greene WB 1:08.85. Consolation: 7. Menzel 1:06.29, 8. Bittles Gr 1:08.87, 9. Aring Gr 1:09.16, 10. (tie) Howard FC 1:15.15, Ward Sm 1:15.15, 12. Long WB 1:16.42.
100 Freestyle -- 1. Soster Gr 57.03, 2. Detro Sm 57.47, 3. Wilcox NP 58.57, 4. Collins Gr 58.76, 5. Carrier Cr 59.00, 6. Redmaster NM 1:02.62. Consolation: 7. Simpson NM 1:01.81, 8. Gannaway Gr 1:02.46, 9. Hunt Cr 1:02.54, 10. Harris Sm 1:04.51, 11. Riley NM 1:04.52, 12. Piper At 1:05.06.
500 Freestyle -- 1. Howland Cr 5:37.20, 2. Kinslow WB 5:49.23, 3. M. Terry 5:53.87, 4. Hatch Sm 5:54.13, 5. Jarvis Sm 6:03.26, 6. Emmert WB 6:09.26. Consolation: 7. Thompson NM 6:10.30, 8. Bannon Gr 6:12.36, 9. Hollis Se 6:14.24, 10. Furr Cr 6:15.26, 11. Bowman Sm 6:27.73, 12. Culler Gr 6:31.63.
200 Freestyle Relay -- 1. Greencastle (Murtagh, Soster, Collins, Ball) 1:43.26, 2. Southmont 1:45.65, 3. Crawfordsville 1:49.26, 4. Seeger 1:52.79, 5. North Montgomery 1:53.07, 6. Fountain Central 1:55.22. Consolation: 7. South Putnam (Arnold, Tomasino, Vance, Lund) 1:56.80, 8. Western Boone 1:57.92, 9. Attica 2:00.74, 10. South Vermillion 2:01.34, 11. North Putnam (B. Smith, Lehr, Werner, Wilcox) 2:01.60, 12. North Vermillion 2:11.43.
100 Backstroke -- 1. Murtagh Gr 58.41*†, 2. Mishler Sm 59.29†, 3. Jarrett WB 1:02.20, 4. Pierce 1:08.50, 5. Greence WB 1:09.06, 6. Menzel Cr 1:09.17. Consolation: 7. Ewoldt Sm 1:13.47, 8, Hazel Gr 1:13.68, 9. Huckstep Sm 1:13.99, 10. Guinter Cr 1:15.15, 11. Haddock Se 1:16.25, 12. Hamke SV 1:16.71.
100 Breaststroke -- 1. Robinson Cr 1:06.18*†, 2. McIlrath NM 1:08.13, 3. Perkins WB 1:11.35, 4. Robertson Cr 1:12.18, 5. Lowe FC 1:16.15, 6. VanHyfte Se 1:16.71. Consolation: 7. S. Terry 1:18.33, 8. Russell SV 1;18.80, 9. Copeland NM 1:20.75, 10. Gannaway Gr 1:20.84, 11. York SP 1:22.20, 12. Lowe FC 1:23.21.
400 Freestyle Relay -- 1. Crawfordsville 3:46.48, 2. Southmont 3:52.10, 3. Western Boone 3:53.33, 4. Greencastle (Aring, Bittles, S. Terry, Collins) 4:03.70, 5. North Montgomery 4:13.70, 6. South Vermillion 4:36.66. Consolation: 7. South Putnam (Arnold, Tomasino, Vance, Lund) 4:22.19, 8. Seeger 4:33.88, 9. Attica 4:41.38, 10. Fountain Central 4:44.93.
Next meet -- South Putnam diver Shelby Johnston moves on to Tuesday's Brownsburg diving regional. No time is currently available. Greencastle's Erica Soster, Kelsey Murtagh, Erika Collins and Melissa Ball advance to the IHSAA State Finals at 6 p.m. Friday at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.
* -- Meet record.
† -- Betters state cut time.