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Girls swimming: Crown Point on top in prelims

MUNSTER — As Crown Point swimmer Racheal Bukowski leapt into the water for her portion of 200 medley relay Thursday, the feeling was electrifying.

The medley was the starting point of the preliminary round of the Munster Sectional and the junior wanted to get things rolling. After all, her portion in the medley finals of last season led to a trip down to the state meet.

“The 200 medley, winning that race, sets a tone,” the anchor said after the Bulldogs posted a time of 1:49.78 to put themselves in the top position heading into Saturday’s finals.

And the relay successes, and other big performances, continued for the heavy-hitting lineup of the Bulldogs. Bukowski and classmate Holly Schuster packed together to lead CP into the top spot in each of the relays (also finishing 1:38.92 in the 200 free relay and 3:39.13 in the 400 free relay). Going into this weekend, all but one of CP’s swims will be represented.

But depth is a necessity, considering the competition at the Munster Natatorium.

Sectional favorites Munster and another threat in Lake Central were also in the mix. Not to mention the list of strong individuals from the other region schools, like Highland, looking for a trip to Indy.

Sophomore Nikki Smith — seeded No. 1 in both the 200 IM and 100 fly, going 2:06.76 and 56.86 — is an example of the Seahorses’ depth. Rebounding after their duel loss to Chesterton, Munster coach Matt Pavlovich was pleased with Thursday’s effort.

“We’re pleased, we probably did a little bit better than what we were shooting for,” he said of the Seahorses holding seven top seeds in the events.

True to form, the Indians gathered many second- and third-place spots. By using his squad’s depth, coach Todd Smolinski is focused on what it takes to go forward.

“In a sectional like this, I think we need to go out and shoot for that state cut time,” he said.

LC leads in the 100 back thanks to sophomore Hailey Garlich, who went 59:31.

Highland junior Marie Stockton is also surging along. One of her events on Saturday will be the 100 breast, in which her time of 1:10.56 earned fourth.

“Just the feeling of being in the top eight, when you get to walk out and everything, it’s very special,” she said.



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