Cougars crowned county swim champs
The Putnam County boys' swim squads met at South Putnam High School Thursday night to determine the county champions for the 2011-12 season.
An exceptionally tight meet came down to the wire, but when the last waves rippled across the pool, North Putnam claimed their first ever boys swimming county title, outlasting Greencastle and South Putnam 232-222-189.
The Cougars claimed only two wins on the night but took six second place finishes, six third place finishes and nine total fourth and fifth place finishes.
The two wins came in the meet's two defining races.
The 200 free relay team of Tyler Shorter, Nick Kaufman, Hunter Logan and Jared James eked out a win over the Greencastle relay team of Mitchell Ball, Elijah Brattain, Isaac Harms and Nash Firebaugh by .05 seconds.
Later, in the final race of the night, the 400 free relay team of Logan, Kaufman, Trevor Troyer and Dane Gray captured the county title nearly 13 seconds in front of second place.
Cougar head coach Tony Gray paid tribute to the work of his squad afterwards.
"It's been 42 years in the making," Gray said. "The kids really bought in to what we've been selling this year. They believed. They worked so hard. I'm so proud of those guys.
"We knew it was going to be close. My hat's off to Greencastle and Coach Menzel. He's done a fantastic job with those guys. South Putnam performed really well too," Gray said.
"I just really think our kids dug down a little deeper. The format of the meet probably suited our team a little bit more," Gray added.
"Greencastle is a little better with the top swimmers but our strength really showed in the five through 12 guys. Those guys won us the meet tonight."
Gray added that the 200 free relay squad was changed late and didn't expect them to be the winners.
"We had a little strategy. We knew Greencastle would have the fastest medley so we retuned that team and moved some of our firepower into the other relays. I was only counting on a second in the 200 free relay but those boys just flat-out let loose," Gray said.
"The 400 free relay wasn't close. The kids just flew. I can't say enough about them."
Greencastle had nine first place finishes on the evening but didn't have the depth in numbers to counter the Cougars.
Brattain won the 200 free and 100 fly, with Ball taking the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke and Firebaugh claiming the 50 and 100 free. Isaac Harms won the 500 free while Nathan Gardner won the 100 back.
The 200 medley relay team of Gardner, Ball, Firebaugh and Taylor Secrest also claimed first.
Greencastle head coach Kent Menzel congratulated North's efforts and praised his own squad's efforts.
"North Putnam swam great. They really did. They came together as a team and we fought them neck-and-neck the whole way and they out-touched us in that 200 free relay, then swam a great 400 free relay," Menzel said.
"They had a great night tonight and should be proud of their performances. Our guys had some great swims tonight. There were a lot of season best and lifetime best swims tonight.
"We're right on track for next week and the week afterwards, so I'm very proud of my guys tonight because they fought hard and swam very, very well," Menzel added.
South Putnam had a sole winner on the night, with Sam Gould placing first in the diving competition.
Eagle head coach Matthew Edwards said that the squad was in it until the end.
"It was great. Congrats to North Putnam for coming out on top. It's great to see. I know it means a lot to them and it's also inspiring for some of our swimmers as well," Edwards said.
"They did exactly what we asked them to do tonight. This whole season, we've been about good progress and keeping momentum up. I'd say for the most part, it looked like everybody dropped time tonight.
"We had to make some changes right before the meet and they did a great job not letting it get to them and keeping spirits up. They knew this is the last meet before sectionals so they went into it, gave everything they had and their times showed that," Edwards added.
With the sectional at Plainfield next week, the coaches added their thoughts on where they saw their squads next Thursday.
"I think we'll do great. They'll handle it well. Some of them got an idea of the competition and I don't think they'll let it get to them," Edwards said.
"These guys do well stepping up to the plate when it's time to. They know the competition is going to be fierce and different than what we've seen in the past.
"There's no doubt that they'll step up and give it everything they've got. I'm positive it will be our best meet of the year," Edwards added.
Menzel added, "Next week is a big pool with very strong, very fast teams, but I think we can put together some swims that will be competitive in some key events, particularly in the 200 medley relay, 50 free and 100 fly."
"With both Mitchell Ball and Nash Firebaugh in the 100 fly and great thinks from Elijah Brattain, we're wanting to be as fast as we can be. That's the main goal," Menzel said.
"When we get to Plainfield, hopefully we'll act like we've been there before and not be start stuck. As long as we bring our heart and dig in deep, we'll do the best we can," Gray said.
"We've preached all year long that as long as the times are dropping we're going to be happy. They dropped tonight, and if they drop next week, we'll look to finish in the top half."
At South Putnam
Putnam County Boys' Swim Meet
North Putnam 232, Greencastle 222, South Putnam 189
200 Medley Relay -- 1. Greencastle (Gardner, Ball, Firebaugh, T. Secrest) 1:48.86; 2. South Putnam (Arnold, Gould, Nees, McCammack) 1:53.40; 3. North Putnam (Lehr, James, Gray, Shorter) 1:57.33; 4. North Putnam (Thornell, Volland, Hinners, Ford) 2:11.35; 5. Greencastle (Ummel, Watson, Briones, Johnson) 2:16.00; 6. South Putnam (Crosby, Neumann, Fields, Lund) 2:18.08
200 Free -- 1. Brattain (G) 2:00.88; 2. Thornell (N) 2:06.28; 3. Lehr (N) 2:07.03; 4. Harms (G) 2:07.28; 5. Albright (S) 2:09.83; 6. Skillern (N) 2:28.30; 7. Pitts (S) 2:31.26; 8. Shaw (S) 2:46.13; 9. Dunbar (G) 3:19.14
200 IM -- 1. Ball (G) 2:10.87; 2. Gray (N) 2:11.50; 3. Troyer (N) 2:29.48; 4. Briones (G) 2:34.51; 5. Nees (S) 2:41.78; 6. C. Evens (S) 3:02.01; 7. Z. Secrest (G) 3:14.62
50 Free -- 1. Firebaugh (G) 23.68; 2. Arnold (S) 23.89; 3. Logan (N) 24.14; 4. Shorter (N) 26.07; 5. Kaufman (N) 26.16; 6. McCammack (S) 26.67; 7. T. Secrest (G) 27.27; 8. Duggan (S) 29.62; 9. Johnson (G) 31.59
Diving -- 1. Gould (S) 199.30; 2. Shorter (N) 144.25; 3. Neumann (S) 134.45; 4. Crosby (S) 119.95; 5. Lewis (G) 113.55; 6. Volland (N) 61.10
100 Fly -- 1. Brattain (G) 58.95; 2. Gardner (G) 1:04.48; 3. Nees (S) 1:12.29; 4. Troyer (N) 1:12.42; 5. Hinners (N) 1:12.63; 6. Watson (G) 1:26.89; 7. Ballard (N) 1:28.24; 8. Fields (S) 1:46.75
100 Free -- 1. Firebaugh (G) 52.14; 2. James (N) 53.60; 3. Logan (N) 56.32; 4. Albright (S) 58.90; 5. Kaufman (N) 59.48; 6. Ummel (G) 1:02.88; 7. Pitts (S) 1:03.15; 8. Shaw (S) 1:15.05; 9. Dunbar (G) 1:31.04
500 Free -- 1. Harms (G) 5:49.24; 2. Thornell (N) 5:53.50; 3. Z. Evens (S) 6:08.07; 4. Crosby (S) 6:14.88; 5. Briones (G) 6:28.00; 6. Ford (N) 6:38.99; 7. Skillern (N) 7:06.34; 8. Johnson (G) 7:51.68; 9. C. Evens (S) 8:03.32
200 Free Relay -- 1. North Putnam (Shorter, Kaufman, Logan, James) 1:39.14; 2. Greencastle (Ball, Brattain, Harms, Firebaugh) 1:39.19; 3. South Putnam (Arnold, Albright, Nees, McCammack) 1:43.27; 4. North Putnam (Lehr, Volland, Hinners, Troyer) 1:51.02; 5. South Putnam (Pitts, Lund, Shaw, Z. Evens) 2:00.76; 6. Greencastle (T. Secrest, Dunbar, Watson, Z. Secrest) 2:18.75
100 Backstroke -- 1. Gardner (G) 59.01; 2. Gray (N) 1:00.69; 3. Arnold (S) 1:01.05; 4. Lehr (N) 1:03.00; 5. Ummel (G) 1:16.48; 6. Fields (S) 1:22.93; 7. Ballard (N) 1:26.10; 8. Duggan (S) 1:38.41
100 Breaststroke -- 1. Ball (G) 1:08.64; 2. Gould (S) 1:09.19; 3. James (N) 1:15.74; 4. T. Secrest (G) 1:17.94; 5. Neumann (S) 1:18.29; 6. Watson (G) 1:21.05; 7. Hinners (N) 1:21.16; 8. Volland (N) 1:22.62; 9. Z. Evens (S) 1:25.26
400 Free Relay -- 1. North Putnam (Logan, Kaufman, Troyer, Gray) 3:51.64; 2. Greencastle (Gardner, Ummel, Harms, Brattain) 4:04.12; 3. South Putnam (McCammack, Crosby, Gould, Albright) 4:15.89; 4. North Putnam (Thornell, Skillern, Ballard, Ford) 4:34.21; 5. South Putnam (Pitts, Fields, Neumann, Z. Evens) 4:47.85; 6. Greencastle (Briones, Dunbar, Z. Secrest, Johnson) 5:16.44
Next meet -- Greencastle, North Putnam and South Putnam participate in the Plainfield swimming sectional next Thursday.