FISHERS – All eyes were on the center two lanes at the Hamilton Southeastern pool for the final race of the day on Saturday afternoon.
Entering the 400-yard freestyle relay, Zionsville held a narrow 1.5-point lead over the host Royals in the boys team race, meaning the whichever team between the two touched the wall first, would be named Hoosier Crossroads Conference champions.
As the top two seed times, they found themselves in adjacent lanes, and would know exactly where they stood throughout the race.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Royals quartet got off to a quick start and the Eagles couldn’t quite catch up, falling by 0.39 seconds to finish runner-up in the race and the meet.
“We had a lot of great swims today,” Zionsville head coach Scott Kubly said. “We set ourselves up pretty well, doing well in the backstroke and going 1-2 in the breaststroke to give ourselves a chance there. We knew it was going to be a winner take all, and they just got us.”
With three events to go, the Royals were ahead 324-298.5 and appeared well on their way to winning the meet.
But the Eagles made their move in the backstroke.
Zionsville went 1-4-4, with Will Modglin winning in 50.33 and William Raches and Holden Bowlds tying for fourth in 54.24. All three Eagles finished ahead of the top HSE swimmer, and the Eagles gained 25 points in the event to bring themselves within a half point.
In the next event, the breaststroke, the Eagles went 1-2, with Coleman Modglin winning in 56.95 and Caleb Berrong placing second in 1:00.88 from the second heat. Hamilton Southeastern went 4-5-6 to limit the damage, but the Eagles found themselves ahead by 1.5 points heading to the final relay.
But in the final relay, the Royals took nearly a three-second lead after the first two legs and while the Eagles cut into the deficit on the final two legs, it wasn’t enough.
“It really showed how important every kid is,” Kubly said. “If we take away anything from this, it is that. Every place and every point counts, and if some of our kids didn’t come through, we wouldn’t have been in the position we were to have a chance to win.”
The Eagles got off to a good start in the meet, with the medley relay team of Will Modglin, Coleman Modglin, Krone and Bowlds winning in 1:35.20.
Zionsville went 1-2 in the IM, with Will Modglin winning in 1:53.37 and brother Coleman placing second in 1:55.22. Berrong was fifth in 2:00.22.
The Eagles also got a win in the 100-yard butterfly, with Charlie Krone winning in a time of 52.48. Bowlds was fourth in 54.13.
“It all starts with Will and Coleman, and they both had fantastic meets,” Kubly said. “Caleb Berrong really stepped up in a big way for us. Charlie Krone had a big day for us too, winning the butterfly and that was great to see. Jack Donovan was solid in his swims too. It was a big team effort.”
Donovan was fifth in the 200- and seventh in the 500-yard freestyles. Krone was fifth in the 50, and Gabe Berry placing seventh.
The Eagles also placed three on the podium in the 100-yard freestyle, with Raches placing fourth, Berry sixth and Dollins seventh.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Raches, Berry, Donovan and Coleman Modglin was third in 1:28.68.
Girls team places fourth
The Zionsville girls swimming and diving team had three event champions, and placed fourth overall.
Fishers won with 508.5 points, followed by HSE (421) and Brownsburg (315.5). Zionsville had 243.
“There was a lot of season best times from the girls today, so that was great to see,” Kubly said. “As long as we keep doing that as we get to the end of the season, that’s what it’s all about. We want to be swimming our best at the end of the season.”
Devon Kitchel was a two-event winner for the Eagles.
She won the IM in 2:06.69 and then dominated the butterfly, winning in 55.72.
Elyse Heiser was the other winner for the Eagles, taking first in the backstroke in a time of 57.81. She was also the runner-up in the 100-yard freestyle in 52.88.
“I think this gave Devon and Elyse a lot of confidence,” Kubly said. “They were both pretty excited with the events they were put in, and they went out and backed it up. They did what they thought they could do and that was great.”
Reagan Mattice was fourth in the 500 and eighth in the 200-yard freestyle.
The Eagles placed third in two relays, with the medley relay team of Heiser, Peyton Skaff, Kitchel and Shea Sullivan finishing in 1:49.85 and the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Kitchel, Heiser, Mattice and Carlin Barksdale finishing in 3:37.82.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Skaff, Sullivan, Mattice and Barksdale placed fourth.
Zionsville has three dual meets remaining before the post-season.
“There is still some questions we need to answer, but today was a big day for maybe filling some of those holes we had,” Kubly said. “We will see here in the next couple of weeks how things shake out. Our versatility with some of our top kids is going to be important. We can kind of move things around to maximize points, and see what happens. We are already in the planning stages and its getting closer.”