Indians take second against area swim teams
Each year during the last week of January, the Mount Gilead swim team faces off against the high school teams from the Marion County area.
In addition to the Indians, this year’s meet featured Marion Pleasant, Marion Harding, River Valley, Ridgedale and North Union. In the weeks heading up to this yearly event, coach Brad Snow plans his strategy carefully — trying to predict what events his rival coaches will choose for their best swimmers and placing his own swimmers in events that will most likely score valuable points for the Indians.
“Early on in my career, I was the only coach to have a strong men’s team and couldn’t rely on a lot of contribution from the wome,” said Snow. “Over the years, the balance has shifted as many of my seasoned male swimmers graduated and the women’s team grew stronger. This year, I knew I had to rely almost entirely on the women to pull off a victory.”
Adding ‘insult to injury’ was the fact that Jesse Rhodebeck, who was seeded first in his individual events and a strong member of two relays, had to miss the meet due to strep throat.
The energy was high in the natatorium at the Marion Y as friends and family gathered to cheer on the local swimmers.
“It is always a boost for us also to have so many high school students, faculty and staff come to cheer — especially if they have never been to a meet before,” said Snow. “We had a lot of pep talks and team cheers to get us hyped up for this meet — the swimmers knew exactly what they needed to do to be successful, so we were excited but maybe a little nervous, too.”
Right out of the gate, the team suffered a blow as the girls’ B medley relay was disqualified for a false start.
“I started to sweat a little,” said Snow, “Relay points are higher than individual events, and the loss of those 18 points could make a huge difference.”
After the waves settled at the end of the day, it turned out that the Mt. Gilead girls defeated Pleasant by a score of 354 to 328.
Marion Harding’s boys came out on top, with Pleasant placing second and Mount Gilead third. With the scores combined, Mount Gilead placed second overall.
“While I would love to claim the top combined score, I am very excited that our girls defeated Pleasant,” said Snow. “This has never happened, and we can be very proud! Every parent should also know that every one of the swimmers scored, and that depth is what made the night happen.”
One of the most exciting events of the night was the girls’ 100 breaststroke. Kara Grossman went head to head with Pleasant’s Linsie Zhang, who swims year-round with the Marion Y team as well.
According to Snow, “the whole race was very close. You could hardly hear yourself over the cheering. Kara ended up scoring first and set a new school record of 1.15.56!”
The 200 medley relay of Elly Herr, Grossman, Brianna Snow and Jenny Hubschman also set a new record of 2.12.08 and lowered the 200 free relay record to 1.59.83. “We had been waiting all season to see that sub 2:00 time!” said Snow.
Grossman also finished first in the 50 free, and David Kamyar was victorious in the 100 breaststroke. Finishing in the top three were Elly Herr –200 IM and 500 free, Brianna Snow –200 free and 100 fly, and Zach Helman-100 fly.
Many swimmers also achieved personal bests in individual events, including Brianna Snow, Kyle Landes, Aaron Evans, Erika Stevens, Savannah Christian, Zach Helman, Jade Trimmer, Julia Marshall, Nick Treisch, Courtney West, Lexie Hinkle, Kendrea Ward, Genesis Rocks, Andrew McFarland, Taylor Clark and Cameron Brown.
“Another big moment was watching Jacob Barnhart shave 25 seconds off his 500 free!” reported Snow, and Haley Barnhart also added points in her 500 free.
The swim team will finish up their season at the Central District sectional meet at Columbus Academy on Feb. 9, with a good chance of advancing several relays and possibly some individual swimmers to the District meet at the Ohio State University on Feb.15.
The team also boarded the bus and headed to Ohio Northern University in Ada to compete in a double dual meet with Ada High School and Coldwater High School recently.
The Mount Gilead men were victorious over Coldwater 44 to 42 and fell to Ada 57 to 34. The Mount Gilead women were too powerful for both of their opponents. The women scored 64 to Coldwater’s 27 and 53 to Ada’s 40.
There were a number of highlights at the meet. The 200 freestyle relay of Jenny Hubschman, Brianna Snow, Elly Herr, and Kara Grossman set a new school record – bettering their own record time.
Herr had a very impressive day as she passed Elizabeth Ray to become the second fastest 500 freestyler in school history. She was three seconds off of the record held by Braelyn Snow. Herr also swam the second fastest time in school history in the 200 individual medley. Grossman lowered her sprint time and had the third fastest 50 yard freestyle in school history.
First place finishers were: Herr, Grossman, Snow, Hubschman, Lexie Hinkle, Kyle Landes, Zack Helman, Nick Treisch, and Jesse Rhodebeck.
Also scoring for the Indians were: Courtney West, Erika Stevens, Kendrea Ward, Jacob Barnhart, Cameron Brown, Aaron Evans, Taylor Clark, Andrew McFarland, Savanah Christian, and Julia Marshall.