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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Nash Firebaugh places 10th at IHSAA State Finals Saturday

Monday, February 27, 2012

(Photo)
Greencastle sophomore Nash Firebaugh finished 10th in the state with a time of 52.20 in the 100-yard backstroke at the IHSAA State Finals Saturday.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Following a school record-setting performance in Friday night's state finals prelims, Nash Firebaugh set himself up for some high expectations in Saturday's consolation finals.

The Greencastle High School sophomore did not disappoint, turning in a 52.20 in the 100 butterfly, good enough for a 10th-place finish.

While the swim was not as fast as Friday's, and the finish was a drop from his ninth seed, Firebaugh walked away with a smile.

"As a sophomore, that's a pretty big accomplishment for me, and just for high school swimmers in general. It feels pretty good," Firebaugh said. "I was hoping to maintain my seed of ninth place, but it's hard coming back on that Saturday morning and putting up your best time."

After an aggressive Friday swim, coach Kent Menzel said his swimmer did not have quite as much in the tank for Saturday, but still performed extremely well.

"He had a great swim today," Menzel said. "He did a great job of taking it out. He did not quite have the energy to finish the race that he had yesterday (Friday), but looked great. An outstanding finish for him for his sophomore season."

The fact that Firebaugh is in only his second year of varsity was not lost on either the coach or the swimmer. Both emphasized the work doesn't stop here.

"Next year, definitely top eight," Firebaugh said of his goals, "maybe even the top three area. I think it's a realistic goal."

With his involvement in club swimming, Firebaugh doesn't even really have an offseason in the near future. He will be competing in big USA Swimming meets within a month.

"Nash is going to take off into a number of big swim meets for the Sugar Creek Swim Club, which will culminate in the Senior State Meet and then the Speedo Sectional Meet," Menzel said. "Those are opportunities to try different events and go for fast swims in the 100 free, the 200 IM and also a chance to compete in the 200-yard fly, which should be a great event for Nash.

"His season for us is over but his season overall is not over and still has lots of chances for fast swims."

Saturday was a chance, though, to reflect on the season. Following the loss of a strong senior class and a head coach in 2011, Greencastle had to deal with the move to the much bigger Avon Sectional.

Firebaugh's strong swims were just one example that the swimmers are working to keep the program strong.

"Last year we lost all those great seniors, but in my opinion we've maintained our Greencastle pride and we still did really well at our meets and placed well. It was a good year of swimming," Firebaugh said.

The Greencastle pride showed in the support Firebaugh had from teammates throughout the week and at the finals. Senior Mitchell Ball, although his season ended last week, continued to support his fellow "Fly Squad" member, even warming up with him prior to Friday's swim.

"Mitchell a great support for Nash all week long. Several teammates worked out with Nash this week, including Mitchell Ball, Elijah Brattain and also Nathan Gardner. But Mitchell really was with Nash from start to finish this week," Brattain said. "He was kind of Nash's shadow as we came to state and just helped talking Nash through what was going on and kept Nash calm and paying attention to the task at hand."

The same kind of attitude is what Menzel hopes will motivate Firebaugh through his offseason work. The work does not stop as they look for continued improvement in the coming weeks and years.

"It's not disappointing because we're always looking forward," Menzel said. "It's like, all right, now we're on to the next big deal. That's those SCSC swims he has coming up and this same meet 12 months from now. Always forward looking and that's the way we operate."

At Indiana University Natatorium, Indianapolis

IHSAA Boys' Swimming State Finals

100 Butterfly -- Championship: 1. Max Irwin (Bloomington North) 48.72, 2. Peter Lyon (Zionsville) 49.56, 3. Aaron Whitaker (Chesterton) 49.62, 4. Nick Wonder (Bloomington South) 50.14, 5. Rawley Davis (Center Grove) 50.69, 6. Roman Sarapin (Carmel) 50.83, 7. Kyle Johnson (Anderson) 50.87, 8. Rick Kelley (Hamilton Southeastern) 51.25

Consolation -- 9. Kevin Brinegar (Columbus North) 52.06, 10. Nash Firebaugh (Greencastle) 52.20, 11. Jake Eckert (Center Grove) 52.25, 12. Conner Conroy (Columbus North) 52.46, 13. Michael Wang (Carmel) 52.48, 14. Conner Whitaker (Homestead) 52.91, 15. Robbie Veenstra (Homestead) 52.98, 16. Nolan Filchak (Bremen) 53.07