Having just watched his team win 11-of-12 events on its way to a 127-point win in the Putnam County Boys' Swim Meet, rookie Greencastle coach Daniel Bretscher showed his true colors by wanting to first talk about one of the least heralded swimmers on his team.
"I'd like to point out Phil Kass. He's a senior and this is his first year swimming. He's one of the slowest guys on the team, but he had a great meet today and broke 30 seconds in the 50 for the first time," Bretscher said.
However, having watched Kass' determination throughout the season, his teammates and coach have come to appreciate his work ethic.
"Phil's possibly the hardest worker on the team and being his first year swimming, people don't really notice him as much as the fast guys," Bretscher said. "But he really has become the heart of our team and this was his final meet ever swimming and he had a really great meet. The team really rallied around him."
South Putnam finished second to the Tiger Sharks, while North Putnam was third.
Junior Nick Stevens was central to all three of the Sharks' record-breaking performances. His 200 free time of 1:51.24 broke his coach's record by more than two seconds. Bretscher wasn't too troubled about it, though.
"It had to go sometime. At least it was one of my guys," Bretscher said. "He was also part of the two freestyle relays that broke the records. He's really thinking ahead to next week. He wants to have a really good sectional and I think he will."
The other two record-breakers came in the 200 free relay and 400 free relay.
In the 200 relay, the team of Luke Smith, Stevens, Miles Salman and Luke Crimmins swam a 1:34.30 to break the old record set by a Greencastle team in 2004.
In the 400 relay, it was Austin Woodall, Stevens, Salman and Crimmins swimming a 3:29.97 and breaking the 2005 record by nearly two seconds.
Greencastle also won the 200 medley relay. Crimmins, Ryan Payne, Jesse Elkins and Stevens swam a 1:46.06.
Stevens and Crimmins were each four-time county champions. In addition to the three relays, Crimmins won the 50 freestyle in 23.26.
Adam Clute won two individual events for the Tiger Sharks, taking the diving with 212.00 points and the 100 backstroke in 1:06.44.
Diving coach Mike Bostic continues to be impressed by how Clute, who was not diving at the year's start, is improving.
"I think he dove real well. The way the meet turned out for him, it builds his spirits for the sectional meet," Bostic said. "With him being a senior and never having a coach, it's exciting him. It's exciting me, but for him it's just a big builder.
"It doesn't stop from there. We have one more big meet and I want him to carry that on into that meet," Bostic continued.
The diving coach feels even better when he thinks about how Clute will perform when he has to do 11 dives at sectional
"The last meet that he had, he did the easy dives that are going to add to what he did tonight. The boy's looking pretty good for regional. He has it in him. Now we just need to let it loose," Bostic said. "I think the 11-dive meet is going to pump him up."
Other individual champions for the Tiger Cubs were Salman in the 200 IM (2:15.41), Elkins in the 100 butterfly (59.54), Woodall in the 500 free (5:23.14) and Payne in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.22).
"I was very pleased. Our mindset is that we're 100 percent thinking about next week." Bretscher said. "For us, the county meet is our last chance to tune up before we do it for real next week."
All three teams are looking toward next week's sectional at this point. For South Putnam, the focus was on dropping times at this point.
"Several kids did really well," Eagle coach Joe Condon said. "They dropped significantly. Some of our kids who've been working didn't have the drops they thought they'd have, but we're okay.
"I think with a week to go until sectional, we're right where we need to be with our front runners. And our younger kids had some good drops. I was pleased," he continued.
Although South had no county champions, they placed second in the meet by filling lanes and giving solid performances across the board.
The Eagles were paced by second-place performances from their sprinters and their lone diver.
Clark Becker was second in the 50 free with a 24.13. Chris Smiley was second in the100 free, swimming a 54.65.
Thomas Butts placed second in diving with 130.45 points.
Condon has a very young team this season and says the youngsters are coming along well
"I've seen them figure out how to do the work and I'm starting to see how it's paying off," Condon said. "Hopefully, the future looks bright for them."
Heading toward sectional, Condon is stressing relays to his team and emphasizing the team aspect of it all.
"I always like to pay attention to relays at sectional because those are your scoring events, but also that's where the kids get to work as a team," he said. "We'll work hard on relay starts and figuring out who will be on the relays. We'll be ready to go next Thursday."
North Putnam's third-place finish was highlighted by a county championship for senior Kyle Smith, who won the 100 freestyle in 55.49.
"I was really pleased with Kyle on that. I know he was very upset with his 50 time, but he pulled it out in the 100. I was really happy with that," Cougar coach Wesley Richardson said.
Besides Smith's championship, North had a pair of second place finishers. The medley relay of Patrick Byrd, Jon Taggart, Smith and Justin Zurawski placed second. Byrd was also runner-up in the 100 butterfly.
While Richardson knew Byrd was disappointed with his night, the coach looks forward to sectional for the senior.
"Patrick, I don't think was too happy with some of his performances tonight, but come sectional I think he's going to do 100 percent better," Richardson said.
"I was happy with how they performed. I'd like to see them do a little better for sectionals, of course," Richardson said. "I think they need to get a little bit more rest."
Greencastle is especially concentrating on sectional, though, as they come into the meet in an unfamiliar position. As last year's champion, the Tiger Sharks, not Crawfordsville, have the targets on their backs this year.
"We're in a brand new position this year, in that last year we won the sectional for the first time in 22 years. So for the first time ever, Greencastle is the team to beat," Bretscher said.
The coach went on to say it is sometimes a worry that a team in this position might have a tendency to mail it in. He thinks this team will remain focused, though.
"I think winning the sectional last year has made them that much hungrier this year. They've responded well to the pressure that's been thrown at them. I feel good heading into next week," Bretscher said.
All three squads will be back in action at the preliminaries of the Crawfordsville Sectional. The meet begins at 5:30 p.m. next Thursday.
Boys' Putnam County Meet
Greencastle 290.5, South Putnam 163.5, North Putnam 130
200 Medley Relay -- 1. Greencastle (Crimmins, Payne, Elkins, Stevens) 1:46.06, 2. North Putnam (Byrd, Taggart, K. Smith, Zurawski) 1:56.61, 3. Greencastle (Clute, J. Kass, Chiarella, Smith) 1:57.35, 4. South Putnam (Grundlock, Gould, Russell, McKinney) 2:03.55, 5. North Putnam (Ban, Pierce, Werner, Zuver) 2:17.88.
200 Freestyle -- 1. Stevens Gr 1:51.24*, 2. Woodall Gr 1:58.74, 3. Grivas Gr 2:04.68, 4. Taggart NP 2:08.08, 5. Ban NP 2:11.82, 6. Whitman SP 2:21.50, 7. Kelly SP 2:21.53, 8. Davis SP 2:22.56.
200 IM -- 1. Salman Gr 2:15.41, 2. Chiarella Gr 2:27.35, 3. Grundlock SP 2:33.17†, 3. Watson Gr 2:33.17, 5. Russell SP 2:42.30, 6. Werner NP 2:44.37, 7. Gould SP 2:47.81.
50 Freestyle -- 1. Crimmins Gr 23.26, 2. Becker SP 24.13, 3. Smith Gr 24.22, 4. Smiley SP 24.71, 5. Guffey Gr 24.78, 6. K. Smith NP 24.81, 7. Ashcraft SP 25.52, 8. Pierce NP 26.16, 9. McKinney SP x27.51, 10. J. Kass Gr x28.07, 11. Campbell Gr x28.36, 12. Bowen SP x29.23, 13. Alig SP x29.41, 14. P. Kass Gr 29.83, 15. Phillips Gr x30.63, 16. Wilson Gr x32.22, 17. R. Arnold SP x33.19, 18. S. Arnold SP 33.51.
Diving -- 1. Clute Gr 212.00, 2. Butts SP 130.45.
100 Butterfly -- 1. Elkins Gr 59.54, 2. Byrd NP 59.58, 3. Salman Gr 1:03.18, 4. Russell SP 1:10.26, 5. Huck SP 1:10.29, 6. Campbell 1:16.00, 7. Wilson Gr x1:22.77.
100 Freestyle -- 1. K. Smith NP 54.49, 2. Smiley SP 54.80, 3. Guffey Gr 55.14, 4. Payne Gr 55.27, 5. Smith Gr 56.54, 6. Ashcraft SP 59.92, 7. McKinney SP 1:04.08, 8. Davis SP x1:05.92, 9. Bowen SP x1:08.57, 10. Zuver NP 1:12.08, 11. S. Arnold SP x1:15.28.
500 Freestyle -- 1. Woodall Gr 5:23.14, 2. Grivas Gr 5:47.18, 3. Ban NP 6:08.42, 4. Whitman SP 6:29.46, 5. Kelly SP 6:34.70.
200 Freestyle Relay -- 1. Greencastle (Smith, Stevens, Salman, Crimmins) 1:34.30*, 2. Greencastle (Payne, Guffey, Woodall, Grivas) 1:42.64, 3. North Putnam (Ban, Byrd, K. Smith, Taggart) 1:43.40, 4. South Putnam (Ashcraft, Becker, McKinney, Smiley) 1:45.63, 5. North Putnam (Pierce, C. Smith, Zuver, Zurawski) 1:53.98, 6. South Putnam (Huck, Davies, Kelly, Whitman) 1:58.32.
100 Backstroke -- 1. Clute Gr 1:06.44, 2. Elkins Gr 1:06.88, 3. Grundlock SP 1:09.43, 4. Byrd NP 1:09.68, 5. C. Smith NP 1:12.08, 6. R. Arnold SP 1:20.41, 7. Phillips Gr 1:22.45, 8. Butts SP 1:38.48.
100 Breaststroke -- 1. Payne Gr 1:08.22, 2. Chiarella Gr 1:13.64, 3. J. Kass Gr 1:14.34, 4. Watson Gr x1:15.59, 5. Zurawski NP 1:16.68, 6. Taggart NP 1:18.20, 7. Gould SP 1:18.51, 8. Alig SP 1:19.39, 9. P. Kass Gr x1:29.23.
400 Freestyle Relay -- 1. Greencastle (Woodall, Stevens, Salman, Crimmins) 3:29.97*, 2. Greencastle (Grivas, Guffey, Clute, Elkins) 4:01.82, 3. South Putnam (Ashcraft, Whitman, Grundlock, Smiley) 4:09.42, 4. South Putnam (Russell, Davies, Huck, Kelly) 4:17.29, 5. North Putnam (Pierce, C. Smith, Werner, Zurawski) 4:21.75.
Next meet -- Greencastle, North Putnam and South Putnam will swim in the preliminaries of the Crawfordsville Sectional at 5:30 p.m. next Thursday.