Influx of swimmers push NH to boys’ MSC championship
All it took was North Harrison swimmer Dylan Shaffer to reach out and encourage then-freshman classmate Zach Outcalt to join the boys’ swimming team to help increase depth.
When both were freshmen, the boys’ squad at North Harrison was rather dry, consisting of four swimmers. Continued recruiting and a welcoming of new swimmers bolstered the North Harrison roster come Shaffer and Outcalt’s senior year.
The end result was what turned out to be a rather easy Mid-Southern Conference championship for North Harrison in boys’ swimming, held at New Washington on Thursday. The Cougars tallied 313 points with the next closest team being Scottsburg with 191. Corydon Central was third at 173.
‘It was hard our first few years because our first year it was me, Zach and a few other boys swimming,’ Shaffer said. ‘Sophomore year was rough because we weren’t close to winning conference. Last year, we thought we’d be close, but we couldn’t pull it off. This year, it finally happened.’
North Harrison coach Andy Pappano said the group worked their tails off.
‘I’ve been beating on them for 12 weeks to push them as hard as I can,’ Pappano said. ‘They took it and kept going.’
Twelve was a magic number as well, with the Cougars winning their first boys’ MSC since 2006, the first year the meet took place. It was another first as well, as the girls won conference the week prior.
‘This is school history,’ Pappano said. ‘We’ve never won boys and girls in the same year. It’s so great with the senior group we have. Dylan Shaffer has been a fantastic swimmer all his life. It’s great we could get a team together to win a conference. He can go away a conference winner as a team. I love that.’
Shaffer won every event he was entered on Thursday. Grabbing the team lead early, Shaffer joined teammates Jordan Johnson, Matt Jones and Outcalt to snag the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:52.81. Corydon Central, sending out Caleb Strange, Jaydn Swords, Oliver Zink and Ben Glordan, placed second (1:56.27).
The same North Harrison foursome went on to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45.59.
Individually, Shaffer was a big winner in the 200 individual medley, going away with a time of 2:13.27. Corydon Central’s Swords was second in 2:27.94.
Two events later, Shaffer was first again. This time he went under one minute to take the 100 butterfly in 58.54 seconds. Teammate Jones made it a 1-2 sweep with second place in 1:02.36.
‘My times today were decent,’ Shaffer said. ‘I didn’t swim my best today. Honestly, I wasn’t feeling it. It’s kind of dark, and I like brighter pools. Overall, I still did pretty good.’
Strange also had a positive day for Corydon Central, winning a pair of individual freestyle events. He took the 50 free sprint in 23.44 seconds followed by Outcalt in 24.98. In the 100 free, Strange (53.80) finished ahead of Outcalt (58.31) once again. Corydon Central’s Ben Glordan was third in the 100 in 59.22.
As a senior, Outcalt was a first-time swimmer his freshman year.
‘I started when I was a freshman, so I wasn’t really into it before,’ Outcalt said. ‘(Pappano’s) been a great coach and supportive of me. Coach always set really high goals for me, some I never thought I would get. I always ended up achieving more than what I thought I could get. He’s the best coach I’ve ever had.’
It took a nudge from Shaffer for Outcalt to give swimming a change. Why did he stick?
‘The fact you think you can’t do it, then you get in the water and realize you can do it,’ said Outcalt, who has improved his breathing and endurance due to an asthma condition. ‘It’s the thrill of meets that brings you back. It’s a sport you never really lose. You are always looking to better your times or get points for your team.’
‘I love when new swimmers find the sport and love it,’ Pappano said.
North Harrison’s Abe Tillquist contributed a pair of runner-up finishes at the MSC meet. He went in 2:08.88 in the 200 free then swam in 5:58.78 in the 500 free. Jordan Johnson took third in the 100 backstroke (1:08.53).
Corydon Central took a pair of late wins with Swords first in the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.86. Corydon Central’s 400 free relay team (Strange, Glordan, Zink and Swords) won in 3:56.08. North Harrison (Javen Johnson, Jasper Burden, Elijah Bartle and Tillquist) were second in 4:01.51.
‘This year, we had an influx of new swimmers,’ Pappano said. ‘It was nice to see them develop. More than anything, it all came together with a core group with a few more added in. It always seemed we’d have a good core group but need three or four more guys to get us there. It’s been frustrating because we had been so close. We did it.’
Team scores: 1. North Harrison 313, 2. Scottsburg 191, 3. Corydon Central 173, 4. Silver Creek 143, 5. Charlestown 124, 6. Salem 109.
Individual scores: 200 medley relay ‘ 1. North Harrison (Jordan Johnson, Matt Jones, Dylan Shaffer, Zach Outcalt) 1:52.81, 2. Corydon Central (Caleb Strange, Jaydn Swords, Oliver Zink, Ben Glordan), 3. Scottsburg; 200 free ‘ 1. Cyrus Petty (Scot) 2:02.40, 2. Abe Tillquist (NH), 3. Colten Dumstorf (SiCr); 200 IM ‘ 1. Dylan Shaffer (NH) 2:13.27, 2. Jaydn Swords (Cory), 3. Braiden Collins (Scot); 50 free ‘ 1. Caleb Strange (Cory) 23.44, 2. Zach Outcalt (NH), 3. Griffin Temple (Sal); 100 fly ‘ 1. Dylan Shaffer (NH) 58.54, 2. Matt Jones (NH), 3. Braiden Collins (Scot); 100 free ‘ 1. Caleb Strange (Cory) 53.80, 2. Zach Outcalt (NH), 3. Ben Glordan (Cory); 500 free ‘ 1. Cyrus Petty (Scot) 5:40.28, 2. Abe Tillquist (NH), 3. Nicolas Bartoch (Scot); 200 free relay ‘ 1. North Harrison (Jordan Johnson, Zach Outcalt, Matt Jones, Dylan Shaffer) 1:45. 59, 2. Scottsburg, 3. Salem; 100 back ‘ 1. Sam Tetrick (Chas) 1:06.27, 2. Colten Dumstorf (SiCr), 3. Jordan Johnson (NH); 100 breast ‘ 1. Jaydn Swords (Cory) 1:09.86, 2. Griffin Temple (Sal), 3. Chase Fellows (Char); 400 free relay ‘ 1. Corydon Central (Caleb Strange, Ben Glordan, Oliver Zink, Jaydn Swords) 3:56.08, 2. North Harrison (Abe Tillquist, Javen Johnson, Jasper Burden, Elijah Bartle), 3. Charlestown.