It was the meet against Bedford North Lawrence earlier this season where Seymour’s 200 and 400 free relay teams thought they had a chance to do something special.
The Owls beat the Stars in those races, and at that point they knew they could beat every Hoosier Hills Conference school.
“We knew we had a chance,” senior Will Cottrill said.
At sectionals last Saturday, the Owls won both the 200 and 400 free relays to advance to the state meet. In the 200 relay, the quartet of Cottrill, Clayton Greenawalt, Paul Montgomery and Pedro Cerino Rico broke the school record in a time of 1:28.51. The previous record was 1:29.69, set in 2007-08.
“I never would’ve thought that I could’ve gotten it this year,” said Cottrill, who is in his first year swimming with the Owls.
Greenawalt is the other senior heading to state this weekend, and he, Montgomery and Cerino Rico all made it in the 400 free relay last season.
“Going to state was my main goal,” Greenawalt said. “We got there last year, and it’s great to go back my senior year because I’m finishing off the best way I can, along with the 200 free record.”
Greenawalt said the state meet is a really cool experience, but last year, there were no fans allowed due to COVID-19, so they hope it will be a better environment this Friday and Saturday.
“It’s a really cool experience to go there,” Greenawalt said. “There will be actual people attending. The air was very dead (last year), hopefully this year is a little different.”
Montgomery feels the same way.
“We will have more experience, it won’t be as overwhelming,” the junior said. “There will be people in the stands, it will be a much better environment and I’m very excited.”
The Owls felt like they had a good shot to qualify in the 200 free relay at sectionals, but Montgomery said they didn’t really know about the 400 free relay until they got in the water and won it.
It was an exciting moment for the four Owls after the races ended.
“I always feel tired,” joked Cerino Rico, the anchor of both relays.
The sophomore swimmer said he doesn’t get nervous being the last leg on the relay teams.
“I think I’m used to the pressure,” he said.
In addition to the two relays, Montgomery also qualified in the 50 free and 100 free.
Similar the 400 free, Montgomery didn’t have expectations to win either event, but now his confidence is sky high.
“It feels crazy,” he said. “Going into sectionals, I didn’t even think I’d win. I thought if we were gonna win anything, it would be the 200 free. This gives me kind of a boost. I think anything is possible now. I could be looking at good results if I stay with it mentally.”
With their names already etched in the record books in the 200 free relay, these four are hoping to get another record in the 400 free relay, and they are about three seconds off.
The Owls are in full on taper mode right now, and it’s all about focusing on technique and details.
“It’s seconds worth of time,” Cottrill said. “It’s the biggest factor no matter how strong or fast you are.”
Nerves won’t play much of a factor for the Owls this weekend. The hard part, as Greenawalt put it, is essentially over.
“Sectionals was almost the hard part,” Greenawalt said. “We have high hopes for state but we aren’t naïve. We’ve accomplished what we wanted to, and now we can shoot for that 400 free relay record and just have fun.”
Seymour will be in heat 3 of 4 in the 200 free relay on Friday night, the 400 free relay will be in heat 1, Montgomery will be in heat 4 in the 50 free and in heat 1 of the 100 free.
The meet is slated to start at 6 p.m. Friday night at Indiana University Natatorium on IUPUI’s campus in Indianapolis. The finals will be at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Seymour junior Kaleb Brown competed in the Jasper Regional on Tuesday night and he placed 17th with a score of 193.10, ending a solid season of diving for him.