Times tick down more for Strange, Shaffer
Every four years, be it the current Winter Olympics cycle or in the summer games, athletes are often debated as to who is the most decorated.
It may be in regard to setting national or world records or by the amount of medals accumulated through the years.
When it comes to boys’ swimming locally, Corydon Central’s Caleb Strange and North Harrison’s Dylan Shaffer are the talk of the pool. Their speed and technique in the water has left the pair among the best in their respective programs.
Saturday, at the Floyd Central Sectional hosted at Highland Hills Middle School, Strange and Shaffer were off the blocks and to the final touch wall in personal best times in individual events.
The two were among the eight to take off in the 50-yard freestyle. From Thursday’s preliminary swims, the final field was within less of a second separated from one another.
One swimmer, Jeffersonville’s Kelly Padgett, broke the 22-second barrier, taking the sprint in 21.80. Strange, who posted the second-fastest time on Thursday (22.95), swam Saturday’s final in 22.31, a school record. Also breaking North Harrison’s mark was Shaffer, who finished sixth with a time of 23.32.
‘I took one breathe the whole time,’ Strange said. ‘To be able to drop half a second from Thursday’s time to today’s time is incredible. It was a bunch of water and eating nothing, trying to be healthy.’
‘It’s such a close race,’ Shaffer said of the 50. ‘It could have gone to lane one to lane five, the guy who got first. All of our times were within a second. For that event, it’s about being loose and ready to go.’
In the consolation final of the 50, North Harrison’s Zachary Outcalt (25.01) was 14th and Corydon Central’s Ben Glordan (25.02) was 15th.
Shaffer had a short break before hitting the water in the 100 butterfly. The senior took nearly a second off his prelim time to place fifth with a 56.18-seconds swim. The winner was Jeffersonville’s Carter Dilger (51.51).
‘I’ve been practicing really hard this year to better my time,’ Shaffer said. ‘I hadn’t bettered it until Thursday. I finally went my first 56 this season. Today, I was warming up really good and felt loose, ready to go. I was pacing off the guy off to my left in lane six. I kept ahead of him most of the time. I wanted to go a 55, but I will take it.’
Teammates Matthew Jones (11th, 1:00.56) and Jordan Johnson (12th, 1:02.25) also competed in the fly.
Strange, parading in to the 100 freestyle final, had posted the only sub-50 second time of the prelims, going in 49.85 on Thursday, a personal best. Off the blocks quick, it was Strange and the field swimming fiercely toward the turn walls. In the end, Strange touched in 48.60 seconds, setting another school record.
The effort was good for second place as from lane two, Floyd Central’s Henry Lang posted a state standard time of 47.00. Only those meeting the state standard along with first-place finishers at sectional advance to state.
‘Trying to go as fast as I could without breathing,’ Strange said. ‘Thursday, I cut almost two seconds then, today, I cut almost another second off. It’s exciting to keep dropping time like that. It’s a big mental game. You have to tell yourself you can do this. There are fast people here.’
Strange said he has pushed himself in the pool but has found a few secrets.
‘Shaving my body except the ‘stash,’ Strange said with a laugh. He also snapped his goggles at the Mid-Southern Conference meet but didn’t opt for a new pair. ‘I’ve had these goggles all four years in high school. I re-tied them twice.’
The goggles have been part of several school-record swims. The senior goes out holding the fastest times in the 50 freestyle (22.31), 100 freestyle (48.60), 200 freestyle (1:48.88) and 500 freestyle (5:11.16).
‘Always trying to be No. 1,’ Strange said of his secret to success. ‘That was my end goal for high school, was to be No. 1 at sectionals. Even though I didn’t, I’ll take second. It’s a big personal achievement to break both school records tonight and PRs. A huge thanks to all my coaches for pushing me. I couldn’t be happier with what happened today.’
Corydon Central’s Jayden Swords was 15th in the 100 freestyle, going in 56.49. The junior also made an appearance in the 100 breaststroke championship, placing sixth in 1:07.98. North Harrison’s Jones was 13th (1:12.94).
North Harrison’s Abe Tillquist swam in two individual events on Saturday. He took eighth in the 500 free (5:46.39) and 16th in the 200 free (2:10.93).
Also for North Harrison, Jordan Johnson was 15th in the 100 backstroke (1:08.11) and Javen Johnson was 16th in the 200 individual medley (2:36.57).
The Cougars, however, weren’t finished breaking records.
Jordan Johnson, Jones, Outcalt and Shaffer joined up to become the school’s record holders in the 200 medley and 200 free relays. In the meet-opening medley relay, the foursome swam in 1:51.73, two seconds better than their prelim times. Then, in the 200 free relay, they went in 1:38.86. Both finishes earned the group fifth place.
Of the 11 swimming events, Shaffer will go down as being part of nine North Harrison record times. Not only is he part of the 200 medley and free relays, he also holds the fastest marks in the 50 free (23.32), 100 free (52.39), 200 free (1:57.80), 500 free (5:25.86), 200 individual medley (2:11.21), 100 butterfly (56.18) and 100 breaststroke (1:09.85).
Of the sectional effort, his final time in the water for North Harrison, Shaffer said, ‘These are my best times I’ve ever swam. It’s my senior year. I’m pretty proud.’
Corydon Central’s best relay efforts came in the 400 freestyle (Ben Glordan, Oliver Zink, Swords and Strange), placing sixth in 3:46.19, and the 200 medley (Strange, Swords, Zink and Glordan), placing seventh in 1:53.31.
Lanesville also participated in the sectional with the top individual finish going to Grayson Boone, who placed 19th in the breaststroke. Lucas Hayse swam to a pair of 26th-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Fellow Eagles’ swimmer Cevinn Cook was 27th in the 50 freestyle.
Within the team standings, Floyd Central was the winner with 531 points, followed by Jeffersonville (320) and Seymour (305). North Harrison (134) was sixth, while Corydon Central (100) was eighth.
Team scores: 1. Floyd Central 531, 2. Jeffersonville 320, 3. Seymour 305, 4. Jennings County 205, 5. New Albany 199, 6. North Harrison 134, 7. Madison 121, 8. Corydon Central 100, 9. Southwestern (Hanover) 88, 10. Scottsburg 77, 11. Providence 76, 12. Charlestown 45, 13. Silver Creek 21, 14. Salem 13.
Individual results (first place advances to state final): 200 medley relay ‘ Floyd Central (Dalton Lawver, Noah McIntire, Christian Salinas, Tristan Deaton) 1:37.52, 2. Jeffersonville, 3. Madison; 200 free ‘ 1. Henry Lang (FC) 1:43.42, 2. Dillon Freiberger (FC), 3. Kameron Case (Jeff); 200 IM ‘ 1. Christian Salinas (FC) 1:56.91, 2. Carson Huber (FC), 3. Trey Hundley (Jennings); 50 free ‘ 1. Kelly Padgett (Jeff) 21.80, 2. Peyton Moore (Jennings), 3. Caleb Strange (Corydon); 1-meter diving ‘ 1. Devin Ramsey (Seymour) 533.15, 2. Tux Tuxworth (FC), 3. Tanner Carver (Prov); 100 fly ‘ 1. Carter Dilger (Jeff) 51.51, 2. Tristan Deaton (FC), 3. Carson Huber (FC); 100 free ‘ 1. Henry Lang (FC) 47.00, 2. Caleb Strange (Corydon), 3. Peyton Moore (Jennings); 500 free ‘ 1. Dillon Freiberger (FC) 4:45.95, 2. Dalton Polley (Seymour), 3. Gabe Anderson (FC); 200 free relay ‘ 1. Floyd Central (Henry Lang, Noah McIntire, Carson Huber, Tristan Deaton) 1:28.52, 2. Jennings County, 3. Seymour; 100 back ‘ 1. Carter Dilger (Jeff) 53.87, 2. Christian Salinas (FC), 3. Dalton Lawver (FC); 100 breast ‘ 1. Noah McIntire (FC) 59.05, 2. Matthew Begin (Jeff), 3. Jaxon Bierman (FC); 400 free relay ‘ 1. Floyd Central (Henry Lang, Carson Huber, Dillon Freiberger, Christian Salinas) 3:13.32, 2. Jeffersonville, 3. Jennings County.