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Bull Frogs dominate at conference championship

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Columbus North never had lost a girls conference swimming championship in 15 years. The Bull Frogs weren’t about to break a tradition this time around.

North won 10 of 12 events, many times putting all three swimmers on the medal stand, en route to dominating Saturday’s Conference Indiana meet at Columbus North.

The locals rolled up 518 points, easily outdistancing its closest opponent by nearly 150 points.

Bloomington South, which claimed the other two event titles, finished with 372 points to get runner-up honors in the eight-team meet.

“We all talked before this meet and wanted to attempt to turn in one of the most dominating performances in (conference) history,” Bull Frogs coach Jim Sheridan said. “I haven’t seen all the previous numbers, but I think we’re pretty close.”

Sheridan, in his 19th year as the mentor for both the North girls and boys, said the girls have worked hard all season, and that included putting in strong practices during the recent holiday break.

“These girls work so well together, they never complain, and even make training fun,” he said. “That hard work is starting to pay off.”

After winning the opening 200-yard medley, North grabbed the next three individual races and had already built a 188-114 advantage over the Panthers, who also claimed the top points in the lengthy 500 free race.

The Bull Frogs displayed overwhelming team depth and a trio of double winners in individual events.

That included sophomore Maddie Wyke, who set a new Conference Indiana record after capturing the 100 butterfly. Wyke’s mark of 59.20 seconds, surpassed the 59.41 time set in 2009, and was also a personal best.

“I wasn’t completely aware of the record, I know I just wanted to swim a low 58,” said Wyke, who also won the 200 free in 1:57.55, as well as swam on two winning relay squads. “I had a 58.58 at sectional last year, so I was focused on beating that.”

Fellow sophomore Marah Bieger also claimed a pair of races, taking the 200 IM in 2:11.22 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.36, while senior Rachael Sollman captured the 50 free crown in just 24.84 ticks, as well as the 100 free in 53.84.

Senior Emma Wyke also took a gold in the 100 backstroke (1:00.14) to round out the top performances for North. But the Bull Frogs also registered a pair of runner-up finishes and several other top five slots to show off their dominance.

“We all push each other,” Wyke said. “Everyone gets along and all of us are willing to do what it takes for us to win.”

The Wyke sisters, along with Bieger and Karen Wildemann joined forces to win the opening 200 medley relay in 1:51.44, while the quartet of Mackenzie Fry, Maddie Wyke, Bieger and Sollman teamed up for the 200 free relay in 1:40.79. The final relay — the 400 free — was won by Fry, Karen Wildemann, Sollman and Emma Wyke, in 3:41.

“All of the girls contributed, I mean we had 32 season’s bests,” said Sheridan. “We’ll now take this and move on with (sectional) and using that to get to state. We’re not done yet, we’ve got changes in the lineup coming with hopes of having even better times in certain events.”

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