North freshman sets up title chase

INDIANAPOLIS — Columbus North freshman Michael Brinegar set up his chase for a state championship with a pair of solid swims during Friday’s preliminary round at the Indiana High School Athletic Association State Swimming Championships.

Competing at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI, Brinegar qualified for the championship finals in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.

Coming into the meet, Brinegar had posted the top sectional time in the 500 freestyle. Friday, he dropped more than two seconds, but qualified second behind defending state runner-up Parks Jones of Avon.

“I knew I probably wasn’t going to end up first (in the prelims), so I still had the same mindset I had coming in here,” Brinegar said. “I’ll just go as hard as I can and get points for the team.”

Brinegar won his heat in a personal-best 4 minutes, 27.74 seconds. Jones swam 4:27.23.

“I felt pretty good,” Brinegar said. “I don’t know how much faster I’m going to go (today), though. I’m not sure if I went all out, but I went pretty hard.”

Earlier in the prelims, Brinegar qualified eighth in the 200 freestyle in 1:40.37. The top eight make the finals, while the next eight make the consolation heat.

“It was pretty exciting,” Brinegar said.

“He was very nervous before his race in the 200 free,” North coach Jim Sheridan said. “Then, he relaxed in the 500 and swam his race. The 200 free, he swam everybody else’s race, and that’s OK. I know you’ll see a different Michael Brinegar on the blocks (today) in the finals.

“Then, the 500 free is going to be a great race with about four or five guys,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to watch.”

Two Bull Frog relay teams qualified for consolation heats.

Junior Chase McQueen, senior Matt Freudenthaler, junior Jared Imlay and Brinegar qualified 10th in the 400 freestyle relay (3:10.96). Freudenthaler, McQueen, senior Kevin Zhang and Brinegar qualified 11th in the 200 freestyle relay (1:27.31).

“We dropped time in both, but we didn’t get four great swims, and that’s what we need to move up and win the consols (today),” Sheridan said. “In each relay, we can do better, and I think the guys saw that. We had some mental mistakes out there trying to get some things going, and we’ll be faster (today).

“They’ve done a great job,” he said. “They have more in the tank, and they’re seeing that.”

McQueen finished 17th in the 100 freestyle in 47.36, missing the consolation heat by two-hundredths of a second. Freudenthaler took 21st in the 100 butterfly (51.51).

“Neither one of them got the first 50 out fast enough,” Sheridan said. “Chase came home faster.”

Two North divers, Kaemon Jiles and Danny Wheeler, and Jennings County’s Lane Sawyer will compete in the diving prelims beginning at 9 a.m. today. The top 16 make the final three dives, which will take place in its normal place within the swimming finals, which begin at 1 p.m.

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