BNL splashes to win over South

BNL’s Alexander Swenson powers through the water. Swenson and the Stars edged Bloomington South by two points during the boys meet on Tuesday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – The difference came down to split seconds. To be exact, to 1.45 seconds in the final relay, to .66 seconds in another relay as Bedford North Lawrence won by the slimmest of margins.

The Stars won only six events, but quality depth proved the difference as BNL edged rival Bloomington South by a 91-89 count during the boys meet in the home finale on Tuesday night. The Panthers prevailed 137-43 in the girls meet.

The outcome ultimately hinged on the last event. While South won the 400-yard freestyle relay, BNL claimed the second and third spots to record the difference. There were other eye-blink conclusions, and an flip-flop of any finish would have reversed the result.

“Wins against South are extremely rare, and any time we pull it off I would put it in the upset category,” BNL coach Adam Young said. “This South team was very high quality, and it’s no surprise it was a nail-biter. I can’t really describe how well everyone swam overall. Big swims were everywhere.”

BNL’s Cole Baker glides toward the wall during the backstroke leg of the winning 200-yard medley relay.

Start with the 200 medley relay. BNL won that as Cole Baker, Garrett Henson, Alexander Swenson and John Allen combined to clock 1:45.72. How about the 200 medley relay, with Isaiah Eicle, Hayden Puckett, Garrett Gabhart and Trey Kimbley winning that in 1:40.90. And BNL’s B squad in the 400 relay scored the decisive points.

“Our relays really came through tonight,” Young said. “To have our B relay go 3:43 in the 400 shows the kind of depth we are able to put out there. The win in the 200 free relay may have actually been a bigger key than the B team in the 400.  We have a couple of guys coming straight out of the 500 and jumping into the 200 free relay.  A real testament to the conditioning and work these kids have put in.”

The Stars also won the 200 free (Kimbley in 1:57.59), the 200 individual medley (Swenson in 2:08.83), diving (Kade Bailey with 168 points) and the 100 free (Allen in 50.97).

In the girls meet, Cookie King was the lone winner for the Stars as she took the 100 butterfly in 1:12.52. Shelby Slaughter got clipped by .05 seconds in the 500 free, and Emma Gabhart had two duels with South’s Kristina Paegle (including a runner-up finish in the 100 breaststroke by .09 seconds).

BNL’s freshman Cookie King splashes toward the wall in her part of the medley relay. King won the 100 butterfly.

“Shelby had a great season best in her 500 and nearly had a career best,” Young said. “Emma had to swim a state champion in two events tonight.  Even after being out for a week due to covid restrictions, she still was right there with her in both races. Cookie had a great win in the butterfly.

“We haven’t even begun our championship taper process and the teams just keep getting faster. Things are really coming together and I can’t wait to see how they do at conference, sectional and state.  I think we may have some special things happen at the end of this season. However we still have a lot of work to do.”

BNL’s girls will compete in the Hoosier Hills Conference meet on Thursday (prelims) and Saturday (finals).

BNL’s Shelby Slaughter cuts through the waves during her freestyle race.