INDIANAPOLIS — Seymour senior Paul Montgomery was emotional after Friday night’s IHSAA swimming and diving state finals.
The senior swimmer was coming to terms with his stellar career at Seymour being officially over.
Montgomery swam in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle preliminaries, and although he didn’t accomplish quite what he wanted to, he still had a positive perspective when it was all said and done.
“Well, these were the last swims of my high school career, so I’m really kind of emotional right now,” Montgomery said. “It’s crazy, but I had a fun time. I swam my heart out, and I had a good time.”
Montgomery was seeded 14th in the 50 heading into Friday night at the Indiana University Natatorium. The top 16 places in each event would move on to Saturday to try and compete for a top eight state finalist spot.
Montgomery was seeded with a time of 21.23, and he swam a 21.60 to place 19th overall. He was only .15 seconds off the 16th-place finisher.
“In the 50, I knew going in that if I dropped any time, I would be coming back, and if I added any time, I wouldn’t,” he said.
The winner of the 50 free prelims was Harrison’s Matthew Klinge with a time of 20.10.
Other athletes moving on in the 50 are Sean Sullivan (Carmel), Lucas Byrd (Elkhart), Colin Parker (North Central), Gabe Berry (Zionsville), Evan Hernandez (Center Grove), Cole Baker (Bedford North Lawrence), Brady Gray (Mount Vernon), Isaac Martin (Munster), Padraig Chapman (South Bend Riley), Jake Tarara (Brebeuf Jesuit), Joseph Hahn (Northwood), Ian Wihebrink (Warsaw), Owen Lindsey (Homestead), Ayden Ketchem (East Central) and AJ Robertson (Carmel).
In the 100, Montgomery was seeded 21st with a time of 47.26. He finished 26th overall with a time of 48.40. Carmel’s Sean Sullivan took the top spot in the 100 prelims with a time of 44.22.
The remaining qualifiers were Will Raches (Zion), Walker Mattice (Zion), Seth Cannon (Castle), Cole Baker (BNL), AJ Robertson (Carmel), Brody Friend (North Central), Colin Parker (North Central), Evan Hernandez (Center Grove), Hayden Lynam (Homestead), Padraig Chapman (South Bend Riley), Aidan Tharp (Chesterton), Brady Gray (Mount Vernon), Jake Tarara (Brebeuf Jesuit), Seth Blossom (Wabash) and Jadyn Gomes (Floyd Central).
“It didn’t go the way I’d want it to, but I’m pleased with my performance, and I did the best I could,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery has plenty to be proud of when he looks back at his Seymour career. Just last week, he set the school record in the 100 with his 47.26 time.
During his junior year, Montgomery was part of the 200 relay team, along with Pedro Cerino Rico, Clayton Greenawalt and Will Cottrill, that set the school record with a time of 1:28.51.
Also in his junior season, Montgomery became the second male swimmer in SHS history to place first in four events at sectional as he won the 50 and 100 freestyles and swam on the winning 200 and 400 free relay teams.
Friday night was Montgomery’s third trip to the state finals.
As the heralded senior is set to graduate from Seymour this year, he said he is undecided on if he wants to continue swimming in college. With the emotions still raw after his events on Friday, Montgomery knows he wants to give it some time before committing to anything.
“I’m undecided right now,” Montgomery said. “I’m going to take some time off and see how I feel going into making that decision.”