Local Sports

Shelbyville prepped to defend pair of girls swimming sectional titles

Shelbyville senior Karissa Hamilton has been a dominant force in the 50-yard freestyle this season.

So much so, she is the top seed in the event at Thursday’s preliminary round of the New Palestine Sectional. Hamilton’s time of 24.55 seconds is .89 seconds faster than the No. 2 seed, Greenfield-Central’s Rachel Stutz.

Hamilton, who won the Hoosier Heritage Conference title with a time of 24.71, is the defending sectional champion.

“She has had some really strong swims all year. She has only lost that event one time this season,” said Shelbyville coach Coen Weiler.

Hamilton also will bolster two relay teams seeking a sectional title or a time fast enough to earn a berth in the state championship meet on Feb. 11-12 at the Indiana University Natatorium in downtown Indianapolis.

Shelbyville is the No. 2 seed in the 200 freestyle relay – seeded 1.31 seconds behind Greenfield-Central, who posted its seed time in a runner-up finish at the HHC Meet in December. Hamilton will be joined by Marlee Rice, Miriam Garringer and either Jordan Tobler or Madison Monroe.

“I am looking for a good swim Thursday to keep us in it and come Saturday, I think we will give Greenfield-Central a race for that title,” said Weiler.

Shelbyville is the defending sectional champion in that event.

Shelbyville also is the No. 2 seed in the 400 freestyle relay but is more than 13 seconds behind top seed Greenfield-Central, the HHC champion.

“That will be a tough race to get to Greenfield-Central,” said Weiler, who will go with Rice, Hamilton, Garringer and either Tobler or Monroe – whichever does not compete in the 200 freestyle relay. “We are going to go after the (program) record that was set a couple of years ago.”



Weiler has just eight Golden Bears in competition Thursday with top eight finishers advancing to Saturday’s championship events and the next eight qualifying for consolation races.

With a major winter storm rolling through Indiana today, competing Thursday night is potentially in jeopardy.

“It seems like every other year we get weather right at this week,” said Weiler. “We have yet to have it affect our schedule but the plan would probably be go Friday for prelims and Saturday finals. And if Friday gets blocked too, we will have to see what happens.

“One thing we’ve done a really good job of all season is to make sure (the swimmers) are controlling what they can control. Right now, we’re in a situation where we can’t control the weather, we can’t control what that looks like Thursday, Friday or Saturday. We will be ready to swim whatever days or times we can swim.”

Shelbyville is seeded 10th in the sectional’s first event, the 200 medley relay. Monroe, Tobler, Kylie Stader and Alexis Dwiggins will compete to improve the seed time.

Garringer has closed out her sophomore season with several strong performances in the distance races. She is seeded seventh in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

“She has had a really strong couple of weeks here and I am anxious to see her swim,” said Weiler. “I think she can move up a lot (in the 200 freestyle).”

Tobler is just outside the top 16 in the 200 freestyle and is seeded 12th in the 100 butterfly.

“Getting into that top eight (in the 100 butterfly) will take a big 10-second drop almost,” said Weiler. “But she is a fighter and she wants every single bit of it, so I am anxious to see what she can do. That’s a spot where five seconds separate 12th and ninth.”

Hamilton and Rice are both seeded in the top eight in the 100 freestyle. Hamilton is fourth and Rice is seventh.

Hamilton’s time of 56.62 is just over one second behind top seed Norah Johnson (55.48) of Greenfield-Central. Just over three seconds separate the top eight.

“I think that’s going to be a tight race and both of our girls in the top eight will have a very strong showing,” said Weiler.

Rice is seeded sixth in the 100 backstroke.

“She knows she has no pressure on her and no expectations going into it,” said Weiler. “She just wants a really good swim and I think she will have it.”

Sophomore Isabella Matney is seeded 24th in the backstroke and 23rd in the 50 freestyle.

Monroe is seeded 16th in the 100 breaststroke.

“I would love to see her move up a couple spots and really challenge in that consolation finals Saturday,” said Weiler.

The New Palestine Sectional features 11 teams – Centerville, Connersville, Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Hagerstown, Mt. Vernon, New Castle, New Palestine, Richmond, Seton Catholic and Shelbyville.