THE Jennings County boys swimming and diving team seized every available opportunity to succeed in the postseason.
The team finished third in its sectional, the Panthers’ best finish in team history. Jennings County also broke six school records.
“Kids know that when they swim for us they’re going to get opportunities to swim,” head coach Bill Dillon said. “We have about half the swimmers of teams like Jeffersonville and Floyd Central, so it’s not going to be an empty promise. We need to have all of our swimmers participate for us to be successful.”
Prior to the sectional, Dillon thought the team could break seven school records, and the Panthers came close to doing that, as Lane Saywer just missed setting an 11-dive record.
“We came within two inches of doing it,” Dillon said. “If Lane doesn’t hit the board on his last dive, he gets our seventh school record.”
Trever Wilson set a school record in the 200-yard free, and Wilson Taylor Eder, Devin Vanosdol and Skyler Moore set school marks in the 200 individual medley and the 400 free relay. Eder set a school mark for the 100 backstroke.
Wilson won the 100 breaststroke event, with Vanosdol finishing second to his teammate. It was the first time the Panthers had ever finished in the top two spots in a sectional event. Both wound up besting the previous record time for the event.
In the sectional preliminaries, Moore broke Vanosdol’s school record in the 100-yard butterfly.
“It was funny,” Dillon said. “When Skyler broke the record, guys were teasing Devin about it; but he went out later in the prelims and broke Skyler’s 100 fly record.”
Good team chemistry ensures that Moore, Vanosdol and Wilson will continue to push each other next season, especially during team relay events. The Panthers will have to fill Eder’s spot on the team next season because of his graduation.
“All four of our relay team guys this season were great athletes,” Dillon said. “There wasn’t a stud guy that carried them because they all had the fastest split time at a meet during the season. That’s highly unusual. There were no egos on the relay team, either.”
Although the foursome missed qualifying for the state meet in the 400 free relay by just .028 second, Wilson advanced to the state meet in the 100 free, and Eder qualified in the 100 breaststroke. Prior to the state meet events on Friday and Saturday, Eder was seeded 20th in the 100 backstroke with a qualifying time of 53.44 seconds, and Wilson was seeded 29th in the 100 free with a time of 1:01.86.
Before the state meet, Dillon was optimistic about the duo’s chances.
“I think Taylor has a good shot to make it to the state finals on Saturday,” he said. “He’ll do it if he drop half a second of time. If either of them drop time, they should move up in place.”
Dillon expected that to occur because of the dedication his swimmers displayed this season.
“I’m really proud of this team,” he said. “They’ve worked hard all year.”
Before the state meet, Dillon gave his team an A-minus for its performance on the season, but he added a caveat.
“If both Eder and Wilson do well at state,” he said, “I’ll move it to an A.”