It may be called the Big 12 Conference, but for swimming only seven teams compete. These teams include NCHS, Normal Community West, Bloomington, Champaign Central, Champaign Centennial, Danville, and Urbana. The meet is the last meet for junior varsity swimmers and divers. This divides the competition into two different categories where both varsity and Junior Varsity can place.
The winner for both varsity and junior varsity was Normal Community West High School. West’s varsity team scored 294, and the NCHS team scored 240. The JV team for West scored 477, and NCHS scored 342.
Christian Harshbarger(12) was the only JV event winner for NCHS in the 500-yard freestyle. His seed time was a 5:36.06 and he ended his high school swim career with a 5:31.26.
“I was very happy at getting the four second drop in the 500,” Harshbarger said.
For varsity, there were three event winners. Lance Bergmann(12) won the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:02.45, adding a second to his seed time. Morgan Bishop(11) was the event winner in the 100-yard backstroke lowering his season best from Intercity to a 58.94. Brian Davis(11) won the diving portion of the meet.
Since this is the last meet for junior varsity, it is the end of the road for some seniors like Dipak Patel. He had finally reached his goal of breaking a minute in the 100-yard freestyle.
“It felt awesome [to break a minute]. I’ve been trying to break it since last year and it was a good way to end the season,” Patel said.
Another junior varsity swimmer, Parker Meadows(9), ended his season on a high note. He dropped 13 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:04.46, even while battling tendinitis in his left knee.
“My goals for next year are to move up 3 or 4 lanes, swim all of the non-freestyle events under 1:10, and make it to Sectionals,” Meadows said.
This isn’t varsity’s big meet; they will be tapered for Sectionals. For them, adding time at the meet is normal. The focus of this meet is for junior varsity to see how much they have improved over the season.
“Conference went very well. I was very impressed with how well the tapered swimmers performed,” Coach Heather Budak said. “We had some outstanding time drops from where they have been all year long. This really attests to the amount of work they put in during the season and their effort day in and out. In the sport of swimming, you really do get out what you put in.”
Budak is looking forward to what the returning swimmers will bring to the pool deck and is hoping for some outstanding time drops for the Sectional swimmers as well.