Jasper girls collect sectional swimming plaque

Photos by Kayla Renie/The Herald
Jasper swimmers celebrate their victory by jumping into the pool with head coach Kristin Gutgsell during Saturday's sectional swim meet at Jasper High School.
For more photos from the meet, click here.


JASPER — Kristin Gutgsell stood on the diving board, shoes off, with many having their phones out.

The Jasper swim coach took a splash into the pool after the Wildcats won the team swimming sectional championship Saturday in their home pool with 428 points, a 149 point difference from second place Tell City. Gutgsell’s swimmers got out to an early lead in the swimming sectional, and never looked back. The Wildcats jumped up and down in a huddle before receiving the hardware, and they all joined Gutgsell in the pool soon after.

“It always feels good to dive in after winning a sectional,” she said.

Gutgsell and the Wildcats did more than just pocket another sectional championship, however. Sophomore Megan Matheis will be making her way to Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis to compete in state after winning both the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. Matheis will also compete as part of the 200 freestyle relay featuring fellow sophomore Avery Henke and juniors Leah Haas and Claire Witte and also the 400 freestyle relay. Sophomore Andi VanMeter, Witte and Henke teamed with Matheis to win the latter event.

“I get to have my teammates all around me and it’s really exciting and really happy,” Matheis said.

“Megan is just a competitor,” Gutgsell said. “She just gets in and she works during swim practice. She knows how to get up and race.”

Matheis swam a time of 1:07.96 in the 100 breaststroke, just missing out on breaking Andrea Zoglman’s school record of 1:07.89. She thinks she could’ve had faster turns in order to get the record. Gutgsell is hoping Matheis can get the record at state, calling it a “fantastic swim.”

“I’m always confident,” she said. “It’s just we have to get up to state. It’s a big atmosphere going up there. We have another week to work on the little fine things here and there, but hopefully we can get up there and pull it off.”

Jasper enjoyed the majority, but not all of the success among local teams on Saturday. Northeast Dubois coach Kendra Friedman gave a hug to junior Hailey Sweeney as she presented her the first place ribbon atop the podium for winning the 50 freestyle. Southridge coach Amy Kaetzel had never been to state as a coach before, but that will change thanks to sophomore Adi Luker’s 56.47 time in the 100 freestyle. The Raiders took third place with a score of 264 in the 16-team sectional.

“Everybody swam their hardest, gave it all they’ve got,” Kaetzel said. “This is a great team of girls. We don’t have high numbers, so I didn’t really expect to win the meet at all, but coming out finishing first, second, third in lots of events, I was really proud of them.”

The Southridge coach praised Luker for how hard she works and giving all she has all the time.

“I’m sure we’ll just work on a little technique, making those turns faster and see how high we can place at state,” she said.

Jasper's Avery Henke swims in the 100 yard butterfly during Saturday's sectional swim meet in Jasper.
For more photos from the meet, click here.

Three local divers will be going to the regional round Tuesday at Bloomington North. Senior Olivia Biggs of Jasper finished as the sectional runner up to make it to the regional round for the second year in a row. Her score of 328.25 was second to Pike Central’s Jenna Meyer, who scored a 340.35. Junior Elizabeth Williams will represent Heritage Hills at regionals after her 301.95 earned her third place, and Southridge senior Evie Sherer rounded out the top four with a 295.55 score.

Jasper diving coach Kristy Vaughn praised Biggs for being consistent and diving well on Saturday. She saw no major errors from Biggs or from sophomore Taylor Bachman, who finished seventh with a 276.65 score. Bachman not qualifying for regionals doesn’t change how pleased Vaughn was with the way she competed at the meet.

She said regionals will pose a smaller margin for error. Vaughn said Biggs’ entries need to be better. Biggs will be one of 20 divers, which will be trimmed down to 12 after eight dives. The top eight will advance to state.

“I thought she set dives up well today, but she’s going to have to finish them a little bit better,” Vaughn said.

Gutgsell is grateful that the Wildcats will be making the trip up there. There isn’t one event over the others that she necessarily feels confident about because of how competitive and difficult state is. She said the Wildcats will keep doing what they’re doing going into state. Preliminaries are Feb. 14, while the finals are Feb. 15.

“Hopefully, we can hold on to our taper that we’ve been working with the past couple of weeks here and hopefully we can get up there and swim a little bit faster,” Gutgsell said.

For more photos from the meet, click here.

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