Seymour swimmers make most of state meet


INDIANAPOLIS — The Seymour boys who made it to state brought a mascot with them, and it wasn’t an Owl.

Instead, Paul Montgomery, Will Cottrill, Clayton Greenawalt, Pedro Cerino Rico, Grant Smith and Larry Simons had a stuffed animal gorilla, and they performed a little pre-race dance around it prior to the state preliminaries on Friday night at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

The gorilla’s name is Brutus, and it’s even on the back of their sectional t-shirts and on the sleeve of their state shirts.

“It’s kind of our mascot,” Greenawalt said. “Owls don’t swim.”

That kind of fun nature was what Seymour was all about on Friday night.

Montgomery was the first to hit the water in the 50 free prelims, and he had to wait until the final heat to get a shot.

Montgomery placed sixth in his heat with a time of 21.50, which was .11 slower than what he swam at sectionals (21.39). Montgomery was only four tenths of a second away from qualifying for today’s state finals. Avon’s Austin Willough was the last to qualify with a 21.46.

Montgomery got a second crack in the 100 freestyle, and he was in the first heat, placing fourth with a time of 48.38. Montgomery’s first split was a 22.91 and his second split was a 25.47.

“It felt great, and even if we didn’t quite match our times, it’s just great to be here, and I think we swam the best that we could,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery likes to have hot oil splashed on him right before he races so he can feel like he’s “on fire” and then dives into water and races fast.

After Montgomery raced in the 100 free, he actually got asked to prom by a sign in the stands, where plenty of Seymour students gathered together with signs that said “Seymour” and “Owls” and had the swimmers’ names on them. Apparently, one was for prom as well.

“I gave a thumbs up and a nod from a distance,” Montgomery said.

The next event was the 200 free relay, where Montgomery, Cottrill, Greenawalt and Cerino Rico all raced.

The Owls finished with a time of 1:28.98 in the 200 free relay. It would’ve been a school record if these four didn’t already break it at sectionals last week with a time of 1:28.51 (the previous record was 1:29.69, set in 2007-08).

“The environment this year was way better than last year,” Greenawalt said. “It really makes it a fun experience to swim.”

Finally, those four got to compete in the 400 free relay, where they hoped to obtain yet another school record. It was going to be a daunting task as they needed to shave off about three seconds.

The Owls gave it their all, but finished with a time of 3:19.71, which was slightly slower than what they did at sectionals the week prior at 3:18.26.

“I feel like everyone did their best and I’m really happy for everyone on the team,” Cerino Rico said.

Cottrill, who is in his first season on the swimming team, was blown away with competing in the state meet.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Everything about it was just amazing. My expectations were exceeded by so much… (it was) just a testament to the season we had. I couldn’t have asked for anything more today.”

Greenawalt, a four year competitor, felt the same to cap off his impressive career.

“This is a great way to finish off this season and the past four season for me,” he said. “I mean, it doesn’t get much better than this.”

Head coach Dave Boggs was also pleased with how the boys swam, and he knows the state meet can always throw teams off their game just slightly.

“We had a good day. They had fun,” Boggs said. “We were pretty much around our sectional times, a tad off, but all the teams here are a tad off. This place can be intimidating. Last year, the noise was nowhere near this level.”

Boggs’ names is on the Indiana Swimming and Diving Olympic Wall of Fame at the Natatorium, as is Patrick Calhoun, a former state champion for Seymour and Olympic qualifier.

“One of the finest pools in the world,” Boggs said. “Indiana is very fortunate to have a facility like this. I come back here and just smile. It’s like a second home.”

Boggs has great memories in this pool, and he took a pic of Calhoun’s name to send to him so he can show his daughter, who was competing in the state finals in Tennessee this weekend as well.

As for the two seniors on the team, Boggs was happy Greenawalt and Cottrill got to close their careers at the state meet.

“It’s very cool when you got two senior boys and they both get their last swims in the natatorium,” he said. “It really doesn’t get any better than that. Being in a place of this quality is just fabulous.”

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