PORTLAND—The Bellmont Braves put themselves into the role as favorite to win the Jay County IHSAA boys swimming sectional Thursday after a strong swim in the preliminary round Thursday at the Jay County pool.
Entering the meet with six number one seeds, Bellmont had 23 personal best swims Thursday night but coach Drew Norby cautioned "we need to swim faster Saturday (finals) so we can try to hold off Jay County and Delta. We swam better than our seed positions going into the prelims and I was pleased with our efforts last night."
Norby noted 26 of the 27 individual swims Bellmont had Thursday resulted in that swimmer advancing to Saturday's round where the top eight from Thursday swim in the championship event and places nine-16 battle in the consolation round.
Bellmont star senior Jay Watters, seeded number one in the 50 and 100 freestyle, dominated his events Thursday night. Watters whipped the 50 freestyle field with a :22.16 time, more than a second faster than second place finisher Andrew Dowdle of Muncie Central. In the 100 freestyle, another Watters vs. Dowdle battle ensued with Watters again finishing on top by a :50.02 to :50.42 count.
Zac Torrey, established as the number one seed in the 200 freestyle, blew past the competition with ease by an amazing four and a half seconds. Torrey ended up with a 1:51.39 clocking which clearly was better than 1:55.90 by Muncie Central's Mason Jones and the third place effort of 1:57.62 by Benjamin Fitzwater of Delta.
Michael Miller was the other number one individual seed for the Braves and he absolutely trashed the 500 freestyle competition with a 5:13.67 blue ribbon time. After touching the wall for the win, Miller had plenty of time to relax before Jones came in second at 5:25.40.