For Jon Montgomery, winning the Floyd Central sectional 50 freestyle seemed improbable. However, all the workouts in the pool during the past 10 years came together for him Monday.

The Seymour senior left the blocks a little slower then he had liked but made up the time when he hit the wall as he sprinted the final 25 yards.

“When I flipped over on the 25, I looked over and saw that I was winning — it became real at that moment,” Montgomery said. “Before that, it was a long-shot hope. I was sort of buzzing on adrenaline the rest of the way.”

Montgomery hit the finish in 22.32, a lifetime best, and instantly threw his arms up in the air and pumped his fists — he knew what he’d accomplished.

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The Owls sprinter won the event to qualify for the 2015 state meet at IUPUI’s Natatorium.

At the preliminaries, Montgomery placed second to Jennings County’s Trevor Wilson with a time of 23.03.

“I really nailed my turn,” Montgomery said. “We were neck-in-neck coming into the turn, and I beat (Wilson) on the turn. That’s a part of my race I’ve been focusing on lately in practice because its usually a weak point in my race.”

While finishing with the fastest time during his tenure at Seymour was pleasing, Montgomery joked that it was a bigger deal that he beat his family’s record since he comes from a swimming family.

Jon’s brother, David (a 2011 Seymour grad), held the family record of a tenth of a second faster before Monday’s sectional.

“A lot of good things happened, but I did break my brother’s record, and that’s something I’ve been trying to do for a couple of years now,” Montgomery said with a smile. “I was a tenth off last season. This year I beat it by a tenth.”

In 2010, the Owls sent Cameron Chastain to the state meet in the 50 free — the last sprinter to represent Seymour. Chastain finished as the runner-up that season.

During the past 10 years, Owls coach Dave Boggs has worked with Montgomery.

Leading up to the sectional, Boggs used some unconventional practice methods to get all his swimmers ready.

“I’ve coached (Montgomery) year-round since he was eight-years-old,” Boggs said. “It was great, we talked about what he had to do from Thursday night, he had a slow start and didn’t come off the blocks correctly. Floyd Central is a very dark pool, we practiced without lights for the past month to get used to it. We’ve done everything we can to replicate conditions. For him to make it is great.”

At the state meet, Montgomery’s goal is to break 22 seconds.

Most of the competition coming into the state meet has recorded times around 21.5 seconds.

“I did a 22.32 (at sectional), but if I clean out my breakout and get a little bit better stroke I think I can get a little bit better time, especially with motivation with people much, much faster swimming with me,” Montgomery said. “A lot of (the competitors) are mid-21’s and that’s where I want to be.”

To shave off time, Montgomery has worked on his breakouts, turns and stroke consistency this past week.

“He had a good start, and his stroke looked great going down and hit the wall pretty well,” Boggs said. “Coming back, I just wished he maintained his stroke, he altered it a little bit coming down. We’ve been working on that this week to make sure we’re dialed in with that stroke. That’s kind of the beauty of having one event — we can focus on that one sprint now.”

In the fastest event, on the grand stage, the Natatorium will be electric.

“High school state is a big deal for everyone there, even the people who have been there before,” Montgomery said. “It’s a big meet and going to be really fast. Everyone’s going to be really excited and I expect a lot of people to cut time because of the energy: I’m hoping to sort of draw off that.”

Some of the fastest swimmers in the nation will stack up against Montgomery.

“Our state meet is so fast,” Boggs said. “You think of Indiana, a small, Midwestern state, isn’t a swimming state — but we are. Our times will hold up with anyone in the country. That’s how challenging this state is. It’s an honor to go to this meet.”

Montgomery, a captain, maintains a calm and collected approach towards meets. His mental toughness will get tried like no other time tonight in the preliminaries.

“Jon’s not easily intimidated,” Boggs said. “He’s a strong person mentally and physically. He’s not missed a single practice all year long. When he was sick he probably shouldn’t have come but he did. I’m proud that he gets to represent us.”

The 50 free is the fourth event tonight, and Montgomery swims in the first heat.

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What: IHSAA Boys Swimming and Diving State FInals

When: Preliminaries at 6 p.m. Friday; first round and semifinals in diving, 9 a.m. Saturday; consolation and final heats in all events, 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Indiana University Natatroium at IUPUI

Admission: $8 per session or $12 both days

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50 freestyle qualifying times

State Record: 20.11 Harrison Wagner, Brebeuf Jesuit, 2011

Top 8 will make state finals, bottom-8 consolation

Heat 1

Jon Montgomery, 22.32, Seymour

Jacob Riley, 22.09, Terre Haute South Vigo

Noah Coomler, 21.94, Perry Meridian

Spencer Davdison, 21.85, Warsaw Community

Isaac Johnston, 21.92, Noblesville

Grant Brown, 21.96, Oak Hill

Chaney McKinney, Pike Central, 22.30

Jordan Cermak, 22.45, Greenfield-Central

Heat 2

Sam Kravitz, Chesterton, 21.78

Chase Bettner, 21.63, Center Grove

Ryan Hrosik, 21.39, Valparaiso

Clayton Culp, 21.10, Franklin Community

Mate Kovacs, 21.21, Penn

Lane Robertson, 21.53,Twin Lakes

Nathan Rose, 21.66, Concord

Harrison Stuckey 21.83, Carmel

Heat 3

John Pelzel, 21.72, Oldenburg Academy

Jack Fekete, 21.62, Wheeler

Trey Kolleck, 21.30, Castle

Gabriel Whitaker, 20.66, Carmel

Ryan Huizing, 21.15, Carroll (Fort Wayne)

Quinn Teague, 21.53, Hamilton Southeastern

Matt Duke, 21.65, Western

Chris Kaptur, 21.82, Chesterton

Heat 4

Jack Franzman, 21.71, Brownsburg

Grant Ralston, 21.54, Culver Academies

Andrew Couchon, 21.29, North Central (Indpls.)

Kyle DeCoursey, 20.32, Zionsville

Connor Homans, 21.10, Lake Central

Andrew Torres, 21.50, Delta

Andrew Aughe, 21.65, Warren Central

Matthew Baker, 21.79, Bloomington South


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