Senior looking to finish with a bang

MATT Freudenthaler experienced a little taste of state swimming success last season when he swam on two of Columbus North’s runner-up relay teams.

This year, Freudenthaler is hoping to add some individual success to his relay accomplishments. The senior will be shooting for a state medal in the 100-yard butterfly.

“That’s been my goal throughout all of high school — to medal in the top eight,” Freudenthaler said. “This year I would say is my best shot to do that.”

First, Freudenthaler will have to advance from this week’s North Sectional. Only the winner and those making the state cut are guaranteed spots in next weekend’s state finals.

Bloomington South’s Matthew Jerden, who beat Freudenthaler in the Conference Indiana meet, is the top seed in the 100 butterfly.

“If we can get Matt out a tick faster to go with him, I think he’s as good as anybody at finishing the race the last 50,” North coach Jim Sheridan said.

“I’m pretty confident that I’ll make it to state in the 100 fly,” Freudenthaler said. “Throughout the season, I’ve worked a lot on my kick, and that has improved so much since last year.”

Freudenthaler swam a season-best 52.59 seconds at the conference meet. He went 52.09 in the sectional last season. The school record is 49.50 by Alec Sheehy.

“My goal from the beginning of the season was to break 50, and I still believe I can do that,” Freudenthaler said. “And if I break 50, there’s no way I’m also not going to want to get that record since it’s right there.”

‘Young man that focuses’

Sheridan said he believes Freudenthaler can make the championship or consolation finals at state.

“The work he’s put in this year definitely leaves him in line to make that top-16 group,” Sheridan said. “He’s a young man that focuses when the time is to focus. He puts in the work, but when the time is to settle down and get after it, he gets after it very hard.”

The 100 butterfly will be Freudenthaler’s lone individual event in the sectional. He also will swim all three relays.

Last year, Freudenthaler swam on the Bull Frogs’ state runner-up 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams. Those units featured Cody Taylor, who is now swimming at Indiana University, and Sam Loescher, who now swims at Wyoming, along with current junior Chase McQueen.

“I don’t think people saw him because he was behind the big guys,” Sheridan said. “This year, he’ll definitely lead off our 200 free relay. He has the best start out of the four guys, and you always want to utilize your best start getting off. I’d love to see him lead off at a high-20 or low-21 on that 200 free relay because if he does that, I think we’re in the running for a top-two or top-three finish again in that race.”

Giving due credit

Sheridan credits Freudenthaler with helping lead North to a second consecutive Conference Indiana team championship.

“I attribute that to my senior kids bringing these young ones along and telling them that it is possible,” Sheridan said. “To graduate the guns that we graduated last year, people think you’re done. It takes the kids that have been there to show the younger ones that you can all swim fast, and he’s one of those kids that can do that.”

Following next weekend’s state meet, Freudenthaler will have a big decision to make — whether to continue his swimming career in college. If he decides to swim, he’ll go to DePauw. If not, he’ll attend IU.

“It will depend on how I feel as a whole after state is over,” Freudenthaler said.”If I have a good feeling about it, if I still enjoy it, if I still feel like it should be a big portion of my life, I will continue to swim in college. Right now, I’m loving it, so it’s looking good for college.”

If you go

What: Columbus North boys swimming sectional

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday (swimming prelims), 9 a.m. Saturday (diving prelims and semifinals), 1 p.m. Saturday (swimming and diving finals)

Where: Columbus North High School

Teams: Columbus East, Columbus North, Batesville, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, East Central, Edgewood, Greensburg, Lawrenceburg, Milan, Oldenburg Academy, South Dearborn, South Ripley

Admission: $6 per session, $9 for both sessions

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.