ANDERSON — A host of area girls swimmers and divers will leap into challenging waters tonight for the preliminary round of the sectional at Fishers.
Perennially among the three fastest sectionals in the state, this year's event once again will be paced by the host Tigers and rival Hamilton Southeastern. Among them, they have the highest seed in 11 of the 12 events (diving is unseeded), and they will stage another epic showdown for the team championship.
A group including Pendleton Heights, Yorktown and Oak Hill is expected to battle for third place — a spot regarded as more than a consolation prize in this field.
"It's a top-heavy sectional with Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers," Arabians coach Jeff Maydak said. "We stack up pretty well after that."
Pendleton Heights won the Hoosier Heritage Conference championship for the first time in more than two decades, and Maydak believes the team is a year ahead of schedule. A strong junior class leads the way and will be joined next season by a promising crop of freshmen.
Anderson has high hopes this year for a pair of its own first-timers.
Hannah Boerner won the North Central Conference title in the 500-yard freestyle and is seeded eighth in the sectional field. The top eight finishers will advance to Saturday's finals, with the next eight competing in the consolation finals.
Boerner also is seeded ninth in the 200-yard freestyle.
Another Indians freshman, Alexa Bramwell, is seeded 10th in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly.
"We haven't had a freshman with a legitimate shot at the finals on the girls team in the four years since I've been here," Anderson coach Dave Renz said. "Both these girls are good, and they've got a lot of room to improve. We are very excited."