GOSHEN — So far things are going according to plan and Northridge girls swim coach Kyle Hembree feels good about where his team is positioned heading into the preliminaries of the 46th annual IHSAA girls swimming and diving state finals.
The prelims begin tonight at 6 p.m. at the Indiana University Natatorium on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis. The diving prelims and semifinals are Saturday at 9 a.m. Consolations and finals in all events start at 1 p.m.
Carmel is going for a 34th straight state title, the longest active string of state championships in the country in any sport or gender.
The goal for the Raiders from the start of the season has been to put themselves in a position to bring home the runner-up trophy, an accomplishment Northridge achieved in 2018 scoring a total of 215 points.
“We are right in the mix,” the coach said.
A year ago, Northridge was fifth with 165 points, but the Raiders were only 2 1/2 points out of second.
One of the teams Hembree is expecting to also been in contention for second place is Fishers, coached by former Raider mentor Joe Keller.
“Fishers is going to be hard to beat. They have a lot of top eight swimmers,” Hembree said. “One thing is they had to swim awfully fast to get out of their sectional while we didn’t have to go quite as hard to get out of our sectional.
“We are totally ready to go. Our times in practice this week have been every good.”
Northridge has some youth on the team, including freshman Sydney Nethercutt, who is making her first appearance in the state finals. The youngster was a double winner in the Elkhart Central sectional last Saturday, taking the blue ribbon in both the 200 freestyle (1:52.21) and 500 free (5:01.29).
She heads into the prelims seeded 11th in the 200 and eighth in the 500.
“We have some youth on this team, but every one of the swimmers we are taking to state have been through a number of state meets at the club level. They come in as freshman with a lot of experience at the bigger meets,” Hembree said. “One thing I try to stress with them is not to make the state meet bigger than it is. I have told them the Indiana state meet is one of the most intense state meets there is. It’s a very fast meet with a great atmosphere.”
The younger Nethercutt along with her sister senior Jenna Nethercutt, senior Mackenzie Weber and junior Elsa Fretz were Northridge swimmers that were not tapered last week for the sectional but are now rested and ready to go for state.
“All of them are fully tapered. We are looking for big things from them,” Hembree said. We are going to need good efforts from the to achieve our goal.”
Fretz is the defending state champion in the 50 free. She is seeded fifth in that event (23.42) as well as the 100 butterfly (55.48).
The Northridge divers came through with flying colors at the Penn diving regional Tuesday. Sophomore Kaitlin Simons was first (491.25 points), classmates Jiselle Miller second (488.40) and Eve Long sixth (400.85).
Long will be diving 11th, Simons 15th and Miller 24th in the prelims.
Simons’ regional score was the highest of any of the eight regional champions from around the state.
“All three of them were great in the regional,” Hembree said. “Simons has the highest score, but it is always a little harder to tell about diving since you never know how the judges were scoring.”
Hembree has nothing but praise for Long.
“She qualified for regional despite having a failed dive in the sectional and now she is going to state,” the coach said.
State Swimming Seeds
200-YARD MEDLEY RELAY — 1, Carmel 1:42.40. Also: 11, Northridge (Mackenzie Weber, Jenna Nethercutt, Ingrid Fretz, Americis Ingling) 1:46.26; 15, Concord (Ella Lantz, Victoria Posthauser, Sophia Stutsman, Audrey Lantz) 1:47.47; 17, Wawasee (Alexis Mishler, Rileigh Atwood, Kiah Farrington, Cammy Kryder) 1:47.80.
200-YARD FREESTYLE — 1, Gretchen Lueking (Carmel) 1:47.26. Also: 11, Sydney Nethercutt (Northridge) 1:52.21; 18, Ella Lantz (Concord) 1:53.03; 19, Kiran Stauffer (Concord) 1:53.05.
200-YARD INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 1, Devon Kitchel (Zionsville) 2:01.67. Also: 20, Audrey Lantz (Concord) 2:08.14;
50-YARD FREESTYLE — 1, Emma Wright (Hobart) 23.20; Also: 5, Elsa Fretz (Northridge) 23.42; 13, Grace Brenneman (Concord) 23.89; 22, Americis Ingling (Northridge) 24.20.
100-YARD BUTTERFLY — 1, Elizabeth Broshears (Evansville Reitz Memorial) 53.55; Also: 5, Elsa Fretz (Northridge) 55.48; 18, Sophia Stutsman (Concord) 57.28.
100-YARD FREESTYLE — 1, Gretchen Lueking (Carmel) 49.97. Also: 9, Grace Brenneman (Concord) 51.41; 22, Alexis Mishler (Wawasee) 52.63; 24, Ingrid Fretz (Northridge) 52.85.
500-YARD FREESTYLE — 1, Mary Catherine Pruitt (South Bend St. Joseph) 4:50.61. Also: 8, Sydney Nethercutt (Northridge) 5:01.29; 13, Kiran Stauffer (Concord) 5:04.62.
200-YARD FREESTYLE RELAY — 1, Carroll 1:34.20. Also: 5, Northridge (Elsa Fretz, Jenna Nethercutt, Sydney Nethercutt, Mackenzie Weber) 1:35.64; 12, Concord (Audrey Lantz, Gabriella Sponseller, Kiran Stauffer, Grace Brenneman) 1:38.03.
100-YARD BACKSTROKE — 1, Berit Berghand (Carmel) 58.04. Also: 5, Ella Lantz (Concord) 55.69, 17, Alexis Mishler (Wawasee) 57.23; 27, Mackenzie Weber (Northridge) 58.34.
100-YARD BREASTSTROKE — 1, Sammy Huff (Noblesville) 1:03.27. Also: 7, Jenna Nethercutt (Northridge) 1:04.38; 23, Anna Yeater (Northridge) 1:06.47
400-YARD FREESTYLE RELAY — 1, Carroll 3:26.34. Also: 7, Northridge (Elsa Fretz, Ingrid Fretz, Mackenzie Weber,Sydney Nethercutt) 3:30.34; 13, Concord (Kiran Stauffer, Ella Lantz, Gabrielle Sponseller, Grace Brenneman) 3:34.20; 20, Wawasee (Cammy Kryder, Kiran Farrington, Ella Park, Alexis Mishler) 3:37.39.