By BECKY SHELLENBARGER – As the winter sports season is reaching the halfway point, the Indiana High School Swimming and Diving team is in full gear finishing up their regular season meets and preparing for a championship season. The boys and girls teams are the favored section champions and are looking for their best WPIAL finishes.
Within the first week of section meets the boy’s team redeemed themselves from a difficult loss to Derry Area High School last year, costing them the section championship. This year, in their first section meet, they handily beat Derry, still in pursuit of another section title.
Sophomore Cole Thome, a state qualifier in the 500 freestyle last season, is an integral part of the boy’s team success. After losing over half the team due to graduation prior to his freshman year, he has stepped up to the plate and worked hard to help the team win. “As a team, I feel like we are very diverse in abilities. We are able to do well because we have talented people in many areas.”
Thome is currently seeded first in the 500 and 200 freestyle events and has his sights set on winning. “I was very excited to have the opportunity to swim at states last year. I’m glad I was able to gain the experience. This year I am seeded first in both of my events and I am working really hard to win both.”
Last year the girl’s team had an extremely successful season, finishing second in the WPIAL swimming and diving team competition, for their all-time best finish. The girl’s team is not satisfied yet. They are working hard with their sights set on winning a championship title this year. Senior Kara Gibbon says, “We’re a very encouraging team and we have strong swimmers in every event. Our success comes from our support for each other.” Gibbon is a senior team captain and shares a part of the 400 medley relay record.
Another member of the record holding 400 medley relay team and WPIAL 100 yard butterfly champion, junior Payton Rayko says, “I have very high hopes for the team this year. We already have girls seeded high in their events and we’re expected to do very well at WPIALS. I hope to win the 100 fly again and I hope that my teammates are able to win their events.”
If you want to support the swim team a meet schedule is on the IHS athletics website. Diving is held at Zink natatorium with a 6 o’clock start, and swimming is held at the fieldhouse natatorium with a 7 o’clock start. We at the High Arrow wish the best of luck to all of the athletes for the remaining meets and at the championship meets!
[Photo by Grace Woolslayer]
Photo Caption: “Sophomore Kevin Zheng finishes strong in the last lap of the 100 breaststroke”