|Tue, Jul 22, 2014 01:34 PM
February 12, 2014 | 10:10 AM
Bailey Seitz said her cheeks hurt a little from smiling so much.
This was on Monday, two days after the North Harrison junior earned a spot at the state finals in girls' swimming in the 50-yard freestyle.
"Total joy," Seitz said. "My mom was crying a lot, she was so happy. I was so excited."
North Harrison's Bailey Seitz puts away the competition during the prelims of the 50-yard freestyle on Thursday at the Floyd Central Sectional. The junior went on to win the event on Saturday to qualify for state. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)
At the Floyd Central Sectional, Seitz posted the fastest time in the preliminaries on Thursday, swimming the sprint in 25.45 seconds.
Knowing the competition would get tougher in the final, eight competitors dove into the pool Saturday at Highland Hills Middle School to lay claim as the top sprinter. Touching the final wall in 25.01 seconds, Seitz edged out Seymour senior Sidney Stout (25.07) for the top spot.
In swimming, only the top finisher in each race advance to state (there is no regional or semi-state) or those who meet the state standard.
"It felt like the fastest 25 seconds of my entire life," Seitz said. "You jump in and the next thing you know it's over. I was watching everyone the whole time, where they were. Seeing the girls next to me, I had to work harder to stay in front of them."
North Harrison coach Andy Pappano said the race was nerve-racking for him.
"Her, to come out on top, was pretty exciting," he said. "It's a first for North Harrison, having never sent anyone to state for swimming."
The win in the 50 came against familiar racers to Seitz from swimming for North Harrison and her club team. In the past, Seitz has often been the underdog. Not this time.
"I really like swimming against them, and it's good to beat them," Seitz said. "We have fun with each other, and there are no hard feelings. I've always been the underdog against some of those girls. Being a smaller school, there is pride in that, too."
Later Saturday, Seitz nearly made it to state in a second event. Swimming in the 100 backstroke, she swam one of the top times in the prelims (1:03.95) and came back to shatter that mark on Saturday. In the final, she was edged out by Seymour's Alex Hawkins, who posted a time of 1:00.9. Seitz came in with a school record time of 1:01.95.
"I didn't expect to get that good in backstroke," she said. "To go in and do that, I was pretty proud."
To be at the top of the podium in the 50 and second in the backstroke was literally a step up for Seitz.
"Last year was my first on the podium and going to the top really showed my hard work paid off," she said. "I worked my butt off all season."
As a team, North Harrison had a big day in freestyle relay events. The team of Natalie Hollensead, Meredith Ingle, Abigail Purser and Seitz earned a fifth-place spot in the 200. They cut nearly two seconds off their prelim time to combine for a school record time of 1:50.64.
Closing the meet, Brittany McCarty joined the tandem of Ingle, Purser and Seitz to place sixth in the 400 free relay. Their final time of 4:10.82 was much better than the time of 4:16.52 they posted in Thursday's prelims.
Floyd Central, the top overall team, swept both freestyle relays.
"They've been breaking those school records all year and broke it one more time," Pappano said. "They had a phenomenal swim."
Not only did the swims in the relays please Pappano, the sixth-place finish as a team among 16 schools made the coach proud. Floyd Central won with 453 points, followed by Jeffersonville's 382. North Harrison finished with 133 points, while Corydon Central was 11th with 60 points.
"The sixth-place finish overall as a team was big for us," Pappano said. "We've never been that high and, to come ahead of Madison and to creep up on New Albany was great to see. New Albany only got us by 13 points."
Earning a 10th-place finish as an individual was Purser, a sophomore, for the Lady Cats. She swam the 100 butterfly in 1:10.89. She also put in a big effort in the backstroke, swimming in 1:09.88 to place 11th.
Taking to the distance events, North Harrison sophomore Ingle took 11th in the 500 free. She knocked seven seconds off her preliminary time to complete the event Saturday in 6:07.12. Ingle also placed 12th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:14.29.
Also for North Harrison, Hollensead earned points with a pair of 15th-place showings. She competed in the 50 freestyle (28.37 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:26.49).
"I couldn't be any happier overall," Pappano said. "We have a good eighth-grade group of swimmers coming in, so we plan on continuing to get better every year. It's exciting times for North Harrison."
Corydon Central took a trio of ninth-place finishes, which was tops for the consolation rounds, in each of the relays.
The Lady Panthers team of Zoe Pierce, Amanda Wells, Ashley Strange and Madeline Zink swam the 200 medley relay in 2:17.16. Wells and Zink were joined by Lillian Kopsolias and Gloria Harper in the 200 free relay (2:02.97) while Kopsolias, Harper, Pierce and Strange swam the 400 free relay in 4:32.41.
In individual events, Strange, Pierce and Wells competed in the consolation finals in different events on Saturday.
In the breaststroke, Strange came back from a swim of 1:27.19 in the prelims to take 14th-place overall by lowering her time to 1:24.86 on Saturday.
Pierce, a freshman, swam to a 15th-place showing in the backstroke with a time of 1:14.75. Wells, competing in her last meet as a senior, was 16th (1:14.92) in the butterfly.
Lanesville also participated, with its best showing coming in the prelims with freshman Haley Leffler placing 32nd in the 50 freestyle with a time of 34.70 seconds.
The state finals will take place Friday and Saturday at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. Swimming prelims will take place Friday starting at 6 p.m.
The top 16 in each swimming event during Friday's prelims will return for competition on Saturday with the top eight individuals vying for state championship honors. Those finishing ninth through 16th on Friday will make up the competitors in the consolation heats. Competition on Saturday will begin with diving prelims and semis at 9 a.m. and the swimming consolations and finals beginning at 1 p.m.
Admission is $8 per session for unreserved tickets or $12 both days.
Seitz is slated to swim in heat one of five in the prelims of the 50 freestyle with a seed time of 25.01 seconds. The fastest posted time belongs to Carmel's Amy Bilquist (22.80 seconds).
Seitz said she has swam at IUPUI before with her club team and on a college visit.
"The girls I will swim against I don't know, but I saw their times. They are fast," she said. "It's a privilege to be there. I'm hoping to get 24 (seconds)."
Team scores: 1. Floyd Central 453, 2. Jeffersonville 382, 3. Seymour 335, 4. Jennings County 238, 5. New Albany 150, 6. North Harrison 133, 7. Madison 124, 8. Southwestern (Hanover) 101, 9. Salem 99, 10. Scottsburg 97, 11. Corydon Central 60, 12. Silver Creek 32, 13. Providence 26, 14. Switzerland County 22.
Individual results: 200 medley relay – 1. Jeffersonville (E. Browne, K. Crace, S. Glover, J. Richard) 1:54.04, 2. Seymour, 3. Floyd Central; 200 free – 1. M. Taylor (FC) 1:55.18, 2. A. McCormick (FC), 3. A. Blankenbeker (Jeff); 200 IM – 1. S. Thom (NA) 2:11.03, 2. L. Jones (FC), 3. A. Dixon (Jeff); 50 free – 1. B. Seitz (NH) 25.01, 2. S. Stout (Sey), 3. A. Lete (NA); 1-mtr diving – 1. K. Posey (JC) 406.05, 2. L. Kessinger (Jeff), 3. C. Biggs (JC); 100 fly – 1. S. Thom (NA) 57.49, 2. M. Meldrum (FC), 3. K. Crace (Jeff); 100 free – 1. M. Taylor (FC) 53.18, 2. S. Stout (Sey), 3. J. Richard (Jeff); 500 free – 1. A. McCormick (FC) 5:10.50, 2. A. Leininger (Jeff), 3. A. Blankenbeker (Jeff); 200 free relay – 1. Floyd Central (M. Meldrum, A. McCormick, J. Ingram, M. Taylor) 1:40.21, 2. Seymour, 3. Jeffersonville; 100 back – 1. A. Hawkins (Sey) 1:00.90, 2. B. Seitz (NH), 3. L. Jones (FC); 100 breast – 1. M. Meldrum (FC) 1:08.80, 2. L. Batliner (FC), 3. S. Glover (Jeff); 400 free relay – 1. Floyd Central (M. Taylor, M. Meldrum, L. Jones, A. McCormick) 3:39.85, 2. Jeffersonville, 3. Seymour.