ZIONSVILLE – There wasn’t much doubt that the Zionsville girls swimming and diving team would win their 15th-straight sectional title.
But that doesn’t mean that the way they didn’t wasn’t impressive.
The Eagles won nine of the 12 events, out-scored second-place McCutcheon by 231 points, and cruised to another regional title.
“It was a total team effort, everyone stepped up,” Zionsville head coach Scott Kubly said. “As we have said before, you have to do well Thursday night before you can win it on Saturday. We swam great on Thursday night, and they came back and did a tremendous job today. This is a very tight-knit group, they really get along with each other and I think that had a lot to do with how they did today.”
The biggest surprise champion of the day for the Eagles came in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Senior Shea Sullivan was fourth after the prelims, more than a full second behind the top finisher – Olivia Luban of McCutcheon.
But Sullivan got off to a fantastic start on Saturday, building a seven-tenths lead at the 50 and holding off Luban in the second-half of the race to win the sectional title in a time of 1:10.68.
“I think she came in pretty fired up today to do well,” Kubly said. “I was glad to see that 1:10 for her, because we talked about that way before the sectional. She pulled that off today, did a great job, and now gets to compete at state.”
The closest race of the day came in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
The Zionsville team of Peyton Skaff, Reagan Mattice, Katie Buroker and Nour Razzouk won in 1:39.76, beating McCutcheon by 0.36 seconds.
“We always practice safe starts at the sectional meet, but with that relay, we really worked on pushing a little bit, because we knew it was going to be a close race,” Kubly said. “With Peyton leading it off and Reagan following up we got off to a good start. Katie has had a great weekend, and Nour was able to close it out.”
Sophomore Devon Kitchel dominated her two individual events, winning the IM in a sectional record 2:01.67 and the butterfly in a school-record 54.15.
She tied her older sister Taite’s record in both events down to the exact hundredth of a second.
Kitchel put herself in contention for the state championship in both events, being the top seed in the IM and second in the butterfly.
Even though there wasn’t much competition for her in either event in the sectional, Kubly said she knew she had to push herself for time.
“The girls know they have to do well today to get a good seed next week,” Kubly said. “For her, it was a great day to win both her events and to get a sectional record. She has some really high goals for next week. She is a great kid, works hard and when push comes to shove, I will count on her every time.”
Elyse Heiser was also a two-event champion.
Heiser took first place in the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:52.32 and in the 100-yard backstroke in 55.59.
Heiser is seeded fourth in the backstroke at the State Finals.
Reagan Mattice was also an individual champion for the Eagles, winning the 500-yard freestyle in 5:09.64.
The medley relay team of Heiser, Kitchel, Carlin Barksdale and Skaff won in 1:46.82 and the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Heiser, Kitchel, Mattice and Barksdale won in 3:33.61.
Zionsville is also sending two divers to the Fort Wayne South Diving Regional. Ava Davis placed third in the sectional with a score of 306.50 and Jillian Campbell placed fourth in the sectional with a score of 292.65.
The prelims start at 6 p.m. on Friday at the IUPUI Natatorium.
The top-8 finishers will return Saturday to swim for the state title, with placers 9-16 swimming in the consolations.
“The big thing is just getting rest this week and getting ready to go,” Kubly said. “Devon, Elyse, and Reagan haven’t tapered yet, so this will give them a chance to get ready for state. We want to make sure they don’t invest a lot of emotional energy that takes away from them, but enough that they get excited and have a great swim this weekend.”