Panthers sweep their way
to wins that dampen BNL’s
Senior Night celebrations
By Justin Sokeland
In a rather magnanimous gesture, Bloomington South swim coach Phil Cole decided to forfeit the final two relays and have his Panthers swim the events as ‘exhibitions’ against Bedford North Lawrence.
What the Panthers exhibited was firepower, depth and talent. South swept the top three spots in 11 combined events while washing away the Stars on Senior Night. South dominated the boys meet 110-69 and the girls 114-67.
Now those are official scores, crediting BNL with relay wins it did not earn. That’s Cole’s choice. In the water, there was no doubt who won. The Stars managed only two wins in races, plus a victory from diver Alden Crosby.
For the Stars, the night was about the upperclassmen (Michael Ball, Victoria Orender, Coleen Gabhart and Czech foreign exchange student Nikola Malkova) who made their final appearances in BNL Pool. The outcome of the meet was never in doubt.
“It’s mixed emotions to siwm South on Senior Night because you know what’s going to happen,” BNL coach Terry Tlustek said. “These seniors have found success in other ways. They have great character.
“They’re all great kids. It’s good to see them off with the success they’ve had. This is my fourth year of coaching and my first senior class where they only had me as their coach. It’s a small class. I really appreciate that they stuck with me.”
BNL’s Alex Manke and Sidney Carlile also stuck with it, posting rare victories. Manke, nicknamed ‘The Machine” by the public address announcer, was just that in the 500-yard freestyle as he zipped to the wall first in 5:03.44. Carlile won her specialty, the 100 backstroke, in 1:07.91, and that was after a vigorous practice session prior to the meet as BNL sought to make up for lost practice time because of the recent inclement weather and school delays.
“I was very impressed with Sidney,” Tlustek said. “With these snow days, we had a really hard practice before the meet today, to get that conditioning back up. Hopefully we’ll hit the taper right.”
Crosby totaled a score of 249.45 to win the diving.
South dominated everything else. The Panthers had only two double winners in the girls meet (Mackenzie Looze in the 200 individual medley in 2:14.94 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.37, plus Phoebe Rensink in the 50 free in 25.86 and the 100 free in 56.66) and none among the boys – another testament to their quality.
“They have numbers and a lot of kids that swim year round, and that’s exactly what has to happen,” Tlustek said. “That’s what a team looks like.”
BNL’s boys will compete in the Hoosier Hills Conference meet on Jan. 30 while the girls will begin their tapering process for the sectional on Feb. 6.