It was a day full of fast swimming and incredible performances on the boards for the Royals, who hosted the IHSAA Sectional meet Saturday. While the Royals came up short in the team battle against crosstown rival Fishers, HSE earned eight automatic bids to the state meet and will likely add a handful more through invites to the meet.
Junior Molly Pedersen won the 100 free in 51.47, senior Abby Harter won the 100 backstroke in 56.05, and the 400 free relay team of Kayleigh Witt, Grace Newton, Molly Pedersen, and Abby Harter was victorious in 3:28.13, just two-hundredths ahead of Fishers.
Sarah Ballard won the diving competition for the third straight year and has qualified for the Regional next Tuesday at Fort Wayne South Side. The competition was close all morning and Ballard was especially outstanding on her last dive, claiming the win by less than five points.
Pedersen will also add her 200 free to her state lineup, as her second-place time of 1:50.73 was over two seconds under the state cut. Kayleigh Witt will join her in swimming the event next weekend at the Nat, with her time of 1:52.24 also an automatic qualifier.
Kennedy Fisher improved her time in the 100 breast by over a second from last year, earning automatic entrance to the state meet with her time of 1:04.71. She also took second place in the 50 free in 23.98, a good bet to make the meet as she missed the state cut by just three-hundredths of a second.
And Abby Harter will swim the 100 back next weekend, as she won the event and was over a second under the automatic qualifying time.
The Royals also qualified all three relays for the state meet, taking second in the medley and 200 free relay and winning the 400 free relay. All three relays have the potential to be even faster a week from today at the state meet.
In addition to event winners and automatic qualifiers, there were a number of standout performances both during Thursday’s preliminaries and Saturday’s finals.
Kayleigh Witt was fast all day long, touching the wall in 5:09.94 in her 500 free, splitting 23.80 on the 200 free relay, and then leading off the 400 relay in 52.55.
Rebecca Ang had a great swim in the 100 back during Thursday’s prelims, then was even faster Saturday, leading off the 200 medley relay in 26.93 and finishing the 100 back in 58.86. Olivia Kiley had a breakout swim in the 100 fly on Thursday night, breaking the 1-minute mark for the first time, and dropped more time in Saturday’s final.
Grace Newton had a great Saturday, taking fourth in the 50 free in 24.24 and fifth in the 100 free in 53.34. She will continue to be in the relay mix and may even have an outside shot at getting into the meet individually, pending results from other Sectional meets across the state.
Sarah Ballard will represent HSE at the Regional on Tuesday and look to earn a state bid for the fourth straight year. State Prelims
– Abby Harter’s win in the 100 backstroke is her fourth straight Sectional victory in the event.
– The Harter sisters swept the top two spots in the backstroke for the second straight year, and this marks the third straight year HSE has claimed at least the top two spots in the event.
– Molly Pedersen’s chase of Carly Mercer’s school record in the 200 free of 1:50.67 will be something to watch next week. Last year, she went 1:50.71 at the state meet and was 1:50.74 today.
– Kayleigh Witt moves to fifth all-time in program history in the 200 free, and sixth in the 500.
– Kennedy Fisher moves to second all-time in program history in the 100 breast with today’s swim. She is now 11th in the 50 freestyle.
– Rebecca Ang moved to 11th in program history in the 100 back on Thursday, and improved her time Saturday.