The Varsity Women Trailblazers competed against ten other teams in the sectional meet at Zionsville High School. Preliminaries were held on Thursday night while finals were held on Saturday.
Every swim on Thursday was an improvement over seed time, and most of them were also personal best times.
The 200s were exceptionally strong for the Trailblazers. Zoe Napier kicked off the individual events by dropping 7 seconds in her 200 free (2:41.14). She also placed 26th– 5 better than her seed! Ella Eskenazi continued the trend, going THREE best times in her 200 free. Her 50 take out of 32.94 was a best time, her 100 split of 1:09.87 was her best flat start, and she held it together to drop six seconds (2:25.28). Eskenazi went from 24th to 18th! Charlotte Kumler dropped a second in her 200 free, which means that she broke her own school record! Kumler bumped up one spot in the rankings. Regan Hooker went her season-best time of 2:37.90 in the 200 IM, which moved her up one spot in the rankings. Caitlin Clark dropped two seconds from her all-time best (8 from her season best) in her 200 IM, going 2:48.43 and qualifying for her first individual final! Clark went from 17th to 16th, which is certainly an important bump.
The first sprint freestyle race of the meet started with a UHS showdown in the first heat of the 50 free! Annie Klemsz dropped 1.5 seconds (34.78) while Meredith Malott dropped one (42.16)! Macy Paton finally broke that 30-second barrier in the 50 free– going 29.70!
After the diving break, Hooker’s 100 fly time of 1:15.54 moved her up two spots in the rankings to 15th. The 100s continued to be strong for the Blazers when Paton dropped two seconds in the 100 free (1:08.44), dropping 9 spots in the rankings! Just a few lanes over, Stasia Reinholt dropped 5 seconds (1:10.65), which brought her 7 places lower than her seed. A few heats later, Kylar Kavanaugh swam an out of her mind 1:05.03, six seconds faster than her best. On the way, she also went (what was at that point) a best 50 time of 30.93. This brought Kavanaugh from 24th to 17th.
In the longest event of the meet, Eskenazi absolutely destroyed her 500 free, swimming strong and consistently to drop a whopping 26 seconds after dropping 10 just last week (6:26.72). Eskenazi had been ranked 20th in this event, but this time got her the 14th seed going into finals– her first individual final. Kumler had a strong swim in the following heat, dropping five seconds from last week to break her own record with a time of 5:43.31. She held her seed time place, which earned her a spot in her first individual championship final.
The 200 free relay had a best split from every lady on the team: Kavanaugh beat her best time set earlier in the meet to go 29.72 leading out, Clark followed by dropping a second down to 31.18, Reinholt dropped .25 (32.04), and Eskenazi brought it home half a second faster than her best (30.20). Their overall time of 2:03.14 broke the school record by two seconds.
In the first heat of the 100 back, Napier dropped 2 seconds (1:20.91), moving up a spot to 25th. Klemsz dropped 34 seconds in her 100 back (2:04.51) and hopefully doesn’t hate me too much. Without much rest from the relay, Kavanaugh still dropped 3 seconds in her 100 back (1:17.59), bringing her from 25th to 19th. Malott kicked off the breaststroke by dropping .3 to 1:53.34. Clark and Reinholt swam side by side in heat three. Clark dropped a second from her all-time best (1:25.51), bumping her from 19th to 15th and earning her a second individual swim. Reinholt dropped two seconds (1:28.73) and moved from 25th to 21st.
The Blazers finished off the evening with another stellar 400 free relay. Kumler kicked it off with a 1:02.14. She was followed by Paton, who dropped 2 seconds (1:07.58), Hooker who went a season best of 1:04.25, and anchored by Eskenazi who went three seconds faster than her best split (1:05.75). Their overall time of 4:19.72 broke the school record by four seconds.
With those performances on Thursday, the Trailblazers earned spots in the consolation finals for the 200 Medley and 200 Free Relays and in the championship final in the 400 Free Relay. Additionally, Kumler, Clark, Eskenazi, and Hooker earned spots in individual events.
Saturday showed additional improvements. The Blazers medley relay of Kumler, Clark, Hooker, and Paton came in 10th. Clark and Hooker both had faster splits than they did on Thursday.
Kumler came in 14th in the 200 free and 8th in the 500.
Hooker went faster than Thursday in both her 200 IM and 100 fly to come in 12th and 11th. Both of these races were more strategic and looked stronger than Thursday.
Clark dropped a little bit to go a best time in the 200 IM (2:48.35) and a whole second in the 100 breast (1:24.56). Both times held her seed places of 16th and 15th.
Eskenazi came in 15th in the 500 with her second-best time ever!
The 200 free relay team of Kavanaugh, Clark, Reinholt, and Eskenazi also came in 10th. Clark’s and Reinholt’s splits were both a second faster than Thursday’s best times. The 400 free relay team of Kumler, Kavanaugh, Hooker, and Eskenazi came in 8th. Kavanaugh’s split of 1:06.07 was six seconds faster than her previous best relay split.
This meet concluded the girls swim season. Overall, every swimmer went multiple best times, and school records were broken six times for a total of four new school records.