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Relays help boost North swimmers to runner-up spot

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After watching his relay teams dazzle in Saturday’s Conference Indiana meet, Columbus North swimming coach Jim Sheridan might have some tough decisions to make before the Feb. 16 boys sectional.

Sheridan loaded his three relay teams Saturday, and all shattered their previous season-best times. The 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay teams each swam the state’s third-fastest times in winning their races, and the 200 medley team swam the state’s ninth-fastest in finishing third.

“We went for all three relays,” Sheridan said. “We have four very solid, great guys on each one of those relays all the way through, and now, we’ll have some decisions to make.”

Fifth-ranked Bloomington North outscored the No. 6 Bull Dogs 441-371 to capture the title. No. 12 Bloomington South, the state runner-up the past two years, was third with 346½.

“Bloomington North has a very fine program,” Sheridan said. “But we’re knocking on the door all the way through, and our younger kids really came along today in terms of what they were capable of doing.”

Senior Sam Parker was the Bull Dogs’ lone individual winner, taking the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 47.91 seconds. Parker also finished second in 500 freestyle (4:55.00) and swam on the two winning relay teams.

“It was nice,” Parker said. “Usually, the 200 free has a lot of strong competition, but it wasn’t too bad this year. It was a little bit painful, but it wasn’t too bad overall. It was a big breakthrough.”

Parker teamed with Sam Loescher, Cody Taylor and Matthew Freudenthaler to swim 1:27.22 in the 200 freestyle relay and joined Taylor, John Rupp and Loescher to swim 3:13.43 in the 400 freestyle relay.

Taylor, Rupp, Freudenthaler and Loescher swam 1:38.72 in the 200 medley relay. Loescher closed in 20.97, a time that would put him third in the state in the 50 freestyle.

“If Sammy Loescher has 6 more feet (in the medley relay), we win all three relays,” Sheridan said. “He was flying.”

Taylor finished second in the 200 individual medley (1:56.20), and Loescher took second in the 100 freestyle (47.41). Freudenthaler (54.83) and Chase McQueen (55.96) went 2-3 in the 100 butterfly.

Rupp finished third in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.50) and fifth in the 200 IM (2:05.78). Freudenthaler took fourth in the 50 freestyle (22.77), McQueen was fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.63) and Sam Larson finished sixth in diving (271.55).

“We did a really good job,” Parker said. “Bloomington North just has a lot of numbers.”

“These guys stood tall the entire day, and they were working together, even with the younger guys,” Sheridan said. “This was their first championship meet, and they were nervous about being here. Cody and Sam and Sammy are bringing them under their wing and helping them go faster.”

The Bull Dogs recorded 27 lifetime-bests and 34 season-bests on Saturday.

“We have these bathing suits that are speed suits, and we’re still in our trunks,” Sheridan said. “Mentally, it does a lot. Our guys are still training hard, and that’s what our approach has been all year long.”

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