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Bull Frogs win 17th straight swim crown

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Two old Conference Indiana teams were out, and two new conference teams were in, but the results for the Columbus North girls swimmers remained the same.

The Bull Frogs captured their 17th conference title in the 17 years Conference Indiana has been in existence on Saturday at Chick Newell Natatorium. North racked up 488 points to 341 for runner-up Terre Haute South.

“Each year is a different year, and you have different kids, so you have to find different ways to win it,” North coach Jim Sheridan said. “We’re very young.”

Four of those young swimmers won titles, and three set conference records in individual events. The Bull Frogs also set a conference record in the opening 200-yard medley relay, when freshman Grace Haskett and juniors Marah Bieger, Maddie Wyke and Karen Wildemann won in 1 minute, 48.21 seconds.

“They broke a meet record of kids that are either collegiate record holders or kids that were top three in the state in their respective races,” Sheridan said. “To knock that record off the board is pretty exciting for the youth that we have on that relay.”

Bieger was a double individual winner. She took the 200 individual medley in 2:09.53 and swam a conference-record 1:06.98 in the 100 breaststroke.

“It felt good, especially my breaststroke,” Bieger said. “I think I can improve on my IM. I think when you perform well here, it gives you a confidence boost to do well at sectional and at state, too.”

Wyke broke her own conference record with a 57.55 clocking in the 100 butterfly.

“It’s my conference record, so basically what it means is that I’m going faster than I was last year, which is exciting,” Wyke said.

The final record of the day came in the 100 backstroke, where Haskett swam 56.89 to win by nearly four seconds.

“It felt nice getting out there and not being tapered,” Haskett said. “That makes it even better. That makes me feel good about upcoming state.”

North also got a win from sophomore Mackenzie Fry, who led a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 free. Fry edged Wyke 1:58.20 to 1:58.44, while freshman Darby Coles was third in 2:00.32.

Coles, Haskett, Wildemann and Wyke won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:41.27. Fry, Coles, sophomore Cori Taylor and Bieger took the 400 freestyle relay in 3:39.23.

Taylor finished second in both the 500 freestyle (5:30.00) and 100 breaststroke. Also finishing second were Haskett in the 50 free (24.05), Fry in the 100 butterfly (59.79) and Coles in the 100 freestyle (54.75).

Freshman Alexandra Nusawardhana finished third in the 200 IM (2:21.39) and 100 backstroke (1:01.89). Wildemann took third in the 100 freestyle (55.39), and freshman Jennifer Gutman was third in the 500 freestyle (5:23.26).

“The youth is shining through,” Sheridan said. “What I told the girls was ‘It’s there for the taking,’ if they continue to work. They’ve been working hard, but the thing to do now is settle in, enjoy this and get back to it on Monday and start thinking about the sectional.”

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