Columbus North started strong and finished even stronger in Saturday’s Conference Indiana boys swimming championships at Newell Natatorium, turning what many fans thought might be a tight battle into a fully soaked blowout.
The Bull Frogs received scoring in all 12 events from every swimmer who participated in the finals and rolled up 454 points to grab the crown. Terre Haute South and Bloomington South proved to be solid challengers as the eight-school meet unfolded, but both failed to match North’s team depth and finished with 380 and 372 points, respectively.
“I’m so impressed with this team,” North coach Jim Sheridan said. “From our senior leadership to our competitive freshmen, up and down the line this team decided to make a statement.”
That included senior Cody Taylor, who won a pair of individual event crowns in record-setting fashion and joined forces with teammates to also win a pair of relays.
Taylor began his afternoon by dominating the 200-yard individual medley finishing in 1 minute, 53.48 seconds, nearly a full 25-yard length ahead of runner-up Bloomington South’s Daniel Hepfer (2:01.03) and teammate Chase McQueen (2:01.23).
Taylor’s time surpassed the 1:55.29 conference record, set last year by Bloomington South’s Ian Finnerty, who would later battle Taylor in a much-
anticipated 100 breaststroke showdown.
Both swimmers entered the final with qualifying times already faster than the 58.29, set in 2012, and neither disappointed the crowd as they scorched the water from the start. Finnerty led the race after the first
50 yards, but Taylor eased past the junior Panther on the third length and then pulled ahead with authority in the final length to grab the title in 56.13.
Finnerty’s second-place time of 57.26 was also better than the previous conference mark, but more than a second behind Taylor’s.
“I wanted to set a new record that will hopefully last for a while,” Taylor said. “I had the record my freshman year, lost it as a sophomore and didn’t swim it last year, so I thought it would be nice to get it back my senior year.”
Less than an hour before that race, Taylor teamed with senior Sam Loescher and juniors Matthew Freudenthaler and Zach Ziegler to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:27.65 and then followed moments later after his individual action to again join Freudenthaler, Loescher and McQueen to capture the 400 freestyle relay in 3:12.50.
“I wanted to help make sure we won without any questions,” Taylor said. “Before the meet, I had a pep talk with the other swimmers and said ‘Let’s not just win this thing, but let’s blow the doors off of it.’”
Taylor agreed his classmates were solid in their contributions, but it was the first-year Frogs that made the big difference.
“I don’t think we could have won without our freshmen,” Taylor said. “They came through in a big way for us.”
Freshman came through big in diving, where freshmen Kaemon Jiles and Daniel Wheeler finished first and fifth, and just as big in a half-dozen individual events, where additional scoring points helped turned North’s win into a dominating performance.
Arturo Contreras made the podium with an eighth-place finish in the 200 freestyle and added ninth-place points in the 100 butterfly, while Angel Torres Martinez took ninth in the 100 backstroke and 12th in the 100 butterfly.
North also earned key points from freshman Adam Zhuang, who garnered a seventh in the 100 breaststroke and 13th in the 500 Freestyle. Harrison Griffin contributed 11th-place points in the 200 IM, while sophomores Jared Imlay and Ben Thompson also came through with added points.
“These freshmen needed to explode to see how good they can be and they did that today,” Sheridan said. “I told them they can see themselves as elite athletes or they can see themselves as just younger swimmers behind the older swimmers. They decided to take the challenge to step up, go fast and do well.”
The Bull Frogs opened action with a third-place showing in the 200 medley relay where, McQueen joined senior John Rupp and juniors Zach Zeigler and Kevin Zhang for a time of 1:43.74, followed by a runner-up finish by Freudenthaler in the 200 freestyle. Freudenthaler, who lost by just .03-second to Terre Haute South’s Christian Wilhelm in that race, also took third in the 100 butterfly.
Loescher garnered a pair of runner-up spots, turning in a 21.64 time in the 50 freestyle, which was won by Bloomington South’s Nick Wonder with a conference-record time of 21.45. Loescher also followed Wonder in the 100 freestyle, while McQueen was second in the 100 backstroke.