CROWN POINT | Great swimmers graduate each year, but girls such as Holly Spears and Aly Tetzloff are always there to zoom into their wake.
When pool and/or meet record-holders are taking the second or third seeds across the board, it's clear that the sectional preliminaries take on varied levels of importance for everyone.
However, that didn't stop Crown Point freshman Tetzloff from setting a pool and sectional record while swimming on two top-seeded relays or Lake Central sophomore Spears from looking like the favorite in the sprints Thursday night at the Crown Point Sectional preliminaries.
Crown Point and Lake Central combined to take all 11 of the top seeds for Saturday's finals. Three-time defending champ Munster, meanwhile, advanced three swimmers into each championship heat, the only school to do so.
The finals are Saturday, and there is no doubt that established winners such as Munster senior Jillian Homans and Crown Point senior Hannah Raspopovich will shoot for championships, tapered or not.
The future of the sport, however, is still with underclassmen.
"I'm very excited for Saturday because I think there is still a lot of room for improvement," Tetzloff said.
Tetzloff established a new pool and sectional mark of 56.21 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly, while previous record-holder Brittany Gilbert of Munster was second in 58.15.
"I just wanted to make the finals," Tetzloff said. "When I saw my time, I was like, 'Oh my gosh. That's amazing.'"
Tetzloff, whose mother has been a USA Swimming official for seven years, also took the top seed in the 100 backstroke and swam on the Bulldogs' top-seeded 200 medley and 200 free relays.
Seven of the eight individual races feature seven or more swimmers from Munster, Crown Point and Lake Central in the championship field of eight, including one with all eight finalists coming from those powerhouses.
L.C. took the top seed in the 400 free relay, with Spears as the anchor.
The 2011 double state qualifier from St. John, whose family moved to Tri-Town only three years ago, took the top seeds in the 50 and 100 free races.
"I went fast enough to get the time I wanted but not as fast as I know I can go," Spears said. "I mean, come on, it's Thursday, we had school, and we have homework. My adrenaline level will be much higher on Saturday."
Other top seeds were Lake Central's Tracilyn Muszalski (200 free) and Crown Point's Hannah Raspopovich (100 breast) and Holly Schuster (200 I.M., 500 free).
"This time of year is a magical time for the girls," C.P. coach Bryon Angerman said. "This is definitely going to be one of the fastest sectionals in the state."
No one, however, is sleeping on Munster.
"Our goal was to get all three girls in the top eight in every race, and now that really puts us in the driver's seat," Munster coach Matt Pavlovich said. "Now it's just going to be on our stars to bring the gas on Saturday."