HSE Swimming blog — Mark Morrow
One thing you can pretty much count on each season is that coach Andy Pedersen’s Hamilton Southeastern girls and boys swimming teams will be competitive.
They are driven for success. So is the veteran coach who watched his girls and boys win State in 2007. The Lady Royals also placed second five times, and the boys were runners-up in 2008.
A year ago, the Lady Royals were runners-up to state champion Carmel at the IHSAA Meet. Point wise, they also tied for second among all public schools in the nation.
“Our JV had a good year, too. Had that team been at another school, swimming varsity, it probably would have been Top 10 in the country. They were that good,’’ Pedersen said.
On paper, both of Pedersen’s teams lost several top seniors and may appear to be a tad thin in experience, more so among the boys who will need to reload in several spots after their 14th-place finish.
“But that could be somewhat deceptive,’’ said Pedersen, whose teams make their home debut against Hoosier Crossroads Conference foe Avon at 6 p.m. on Nov. 29.
“We have a really good group of freshmen, as well as some other young swimmers that have yet to make their mark…but they are capable competitors and will continue to improve,’’ said Pedersen.
The girls were ranked No. 17 in the preseason poll.
“We really think we could be pretty good. Our goal for the girls is somewhere around a Top 5 at the State Meet,’’ said Pedersen.
Pedersen also said that HSE has an exceptional girls dive team. He said that squad is five deep, led by senior Hannah Van Taylor.
Two of HSE’s returning seniors have already signed for college. Hannah Taylor will compete at Grand Valley State and Caroline Cross is headed for Bellarmine University.
Taylor’s specialties are the 200 and 500-freestyle events, and Cross competes in the 200-IM and 100-breaststroke.
Pedersen expects a lot from senior Megan Lugar, who placed 12th in the 100-backstroke consolation finals last season, and also is high on junior Victoria Vicory and senior Hannah Ballard.
Junior Madison Kirtin and sophomore Hannah Pugh were members of the 7th-place 200-medley relay, while Pugh also was 15th in the 100-butterfly.
Pedersen also points to Emily Barnes as a strong competitor this year. She was the fifth member of the 200-relay (a national time) and 400-relay.
“A lot of people might not realize that or may have overlooked that, but Emily was an important team member who helped us a great deal. And we expect some really good things from her this season,’’ Pedersen said.
“We had a team meeting the other day. I told them it might be a long process, but I’m really excited to see where to put all the pieces. It’s going to be fun, exciting.’’
The Royals boys will be led by senior Zach Teffeteller, who was involved in scoring 42 of the team’s 48 total points last season.
Teffeteller swam leadoff on the 7th-place 200-free relay and he was a member of the 9th-place 400-relay team in the B-final. He also finished 21st in the 100-freestyle.
The Royals also return a strong diver in senior Hayden Wenger, who placed 19th at State in 1-meter diving.
Sophomore Blake Ratliff and junior Nathan Brown return from the 200-medley relay that was 23rd in the preliminaries.
“We lost some good kids, but our current kids will work hard to improve. That’s a goal we set every year. We are super young, though.’’
Fishers HS ended HSE’s string of 24 successive boys sectional championships last year.
“We have a good rivalry with Fishers….and that makes us better each year. They are always very good. But anytime a streak like that comes to an end, well, it’s hard, though all good things eventually come to an end, you know,’’ the coach said. “Our focus now is instead of defending a streak, now it’s time to start a new one.
“Our guys have a fresh perspective this season, and they want to get better — in the conference (HCC), sectional and at State. We have some excellent kids.
So there’s still reason for optimism,’’ Pedersen was asked. His favorable grin said it all.
*—Mark Morrow, a Fishers resident since 1989, formerly owned Hamilton County Sports Daily. He was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters-Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 2015. He now blogs for hseroyalsathletics.com(.)