ANDERSON — The 77th annual IHSAA boys state swimming tournament gets underway today as local swimmers from Anderson, Elwood, Liberty Christian and Pendleton Heights will take to the pool at Hamilton Southeastern High School.
Preliminaries are scheduled to get underway at 5:30 p.m. today with the top eight finishers advancing to the finals which begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, also at HSE. Diving preliminaries are at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Both Anderson coach Jeff Eddy and Pendleton Heights coach Jeff Maydak give a strong edge to Hamilton Southeastern as the favorite, but both feel their squads will be competitive in the 12 events plus diving competition.
“Hamilton Southeastern looks to be the class of the field and Yorktown has a bit of an edge for second with Fishers being a little down this year,” said Maydak. “We feel Oak Hill and Pendleton will be in the mix for third.”
While Maydak puts Pendleton in the third to fifth place range, he feels they have a shot to compete in several events, first and foremost will be in diving. Sophomore Dylan McCammon, who finished 13th in the state finals last season, looks to compete for the sectional title after finishing second at Fishers last year. “His experience from last year will help,” Maydak said of McCammon. “He looks to be in the top two or three in the sectional.”
Individually, Tyler Parrish is ranked fourth in the 50 and 100 meter free style events, Aric Fredericks is fourth in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 200 free. Tyler Brand is sixth in the 200 and 500 free while Landis Hollingsworth is fourth in the backstroke and seventh in the 500 meter event.
“We have some individuals that look promising,” Maydak said of his Arabians. Pendleton finished third last year in the sectionals.
Eddy is looking for the Indians to compete for the fourth to sixth place range, but individual goals are on the coach’s mind. “The biggest thing is personal best times,” Eddy said. “One hundred percent personal bests, that is what I want to see. However that stacks us up, that’s great.”
Eddy points to junior Hamilton Smith in the fly and individual medley events, Tyler Davidson in the free style events, Cody Gray in the breaststroke and Skylar Parrish in sprint and freestyle events. No matter what the placements are, Eddy’s squad has a simple goal. “Our ultimate goal is to be at our best,” Eddy said, with the hope that personal bests will help carry Anderson to a spot in the top five.
Anderson was sixth in the sectionals last year, 14 points behind Oak Hill for fifth.
The tournament begins tonight with preliminaries scheduled for 5:30. The top eight swimmers in each event move on to Saturday’s finals and the next eight will be in the consolations. The winners from each event in Saturday’s sectional finals move on to the state tournament, which will be held on Feb. 28 and 29, at the IUPUI Natatorium.
Also advancing will be any swimmer that equals or betters the state time standard for the event. The total number of state entrants will be capped at 32 participants per event.
The top four divers will advance to the regional round, which will be held at Fishers High School on Tuesday. Tickets are $8 per session or $12 for both days.