FISHERS — The competition was strong, but so were the Pendleton Heights swimmers.
The Arabians boys swimming and diving team finished fourth at Saturday’s Hamilton Southeastern Sectional, considered one of the toughest in the state. It was the team’s best sectional finish since 2016, when it placed third.
Over the last four seasons, the team finished fifth from 2017-19 and sixth last season.
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“It was exciting. We were seeded, going off the psych sheets, sixth going into prelims and ended up finishing fourth,” Pendleton Heights head coach Mindy Hertzler said. “It was a big deal for the boys.”
Fishers (511), Hamilton Southeastern (492) and Yorktown (239) took the top three spots. Pendleton Heights (213) finished ahead of Oak Hill (192), Anderson (182), Hamilton Heights (164), Marion (80) and Liberty Christian (42).
“Last year, we had nine scorers in the top 16 and two in the top eight. This year we had 16 scorers and three in the top eight,” Hertzler said. “We’re gradually trying to build the program, and I think we’re going in the right direction.”
Fishers was ranked No. 3 in the Indiana High School Swimming Coaches Association midseason state rankings released in early January. Hamilton Southeastern was No. 13.
The Arabians had all three relay teams qualify for the sectional finals and had at least one swimmer or diver earn spots in sectional A or B finals.
To open Saturday’s finals, the 200 medley relay team placed fourth. Freshman Jacob Simpson, junior Tyler Hollendonner, senior Trevor Cobb and freshman Ian Christian clocked in at 1:43.44.
Senior Brayden Jones was seventh in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.73 seconds.
Sophomore Ashur Grobey just missed qualifying for the diving regional; the top four advance, and he placed sixth with 329.35 points.
Cobb had the best finish of the day, placing third in the 200 IM with a time of 53.44 seconds. In the B final, the Arabians had a 1-2 finish from Jacob Simpson and Ian Christian, both freshmen, earning ninth and 10th place points.
Hollendonner, Simpson, senior Oliver Claxon and Jones were fifth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:35.82). Cobb followed with an eighth in the 100 backstroke final (58.44). Christian won the B final.
To wrap up the day, Jones, senior Tanner Keesling, Christian and Cobb picked up a fifth-place position in the 400 freestyle relay (3:30.16).
“They dropped a ton of time in the prelims with the challenge of trying to get in the finals,” Hertzler added. “They held their seeds (in Saturday’s finals). We had a lot of swimmers drop more time and it was a lot of fun and I think they had fun, too.”