MUNSTER — Munster’s Kay Foley touched just .02 seconds ahead of Lake Central’s Savanna Spears in the final leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Foley saw the board and pumped her fist into the air.
Coach Mat Pavlovich came over for one of many high fives she dished out after shaking hands with Spears.
“I put my head down the whole race,” Foley said. “I didn’t know where she was, so I knew I had to go. It was close, and I was ecstatic where there was a No. 1 next to our name.”
It proved to be the turning point in Munster’s 476-465 win over Lake Central to give the Seahorses their 29th sectional title overall and fourth in a row.
“Luckily, we were able to pull it out,” Pavlovich said. “It was a strange season for us, but a nice ending.”
Lake Central was denied its first sectional title since 2004.
“The whole team we had good energy, and everybody was super hyped up,” Spears said. “Even though we didn’t get our win, we still gave them a good run for their money. We tried our hardest, put our best foot forward and it was a great day for us.”
Prior to the 200 free relay, Munster trailed L.C. 320-307. The win cut the deficit to seven points. From there Munster’s Lindsy Vanek, Miranda Adams and Isabella Blackford went first, third and sixth in the 100 back to get within 396-395.
“It’s crazy,” Vanek said. “I’ve been working hard all season. To finally have my hard work pay off is a great feeling.”
Then Munster’s Brisa Bohling, Audrey Beck and Savannah Frazier took second, third and sixth in the 100 breast to gain 16 points on L.C. and grab a 442-425 advantage. L.C. and Munster went 1-2 in the 400 free relay for the final count.
“The rest of the team worked so hard, so for us to come out on top was awesome,” Foley said. “Everyone came to fight, and everyone did great. We moved people up. If people fell behind, other people stepped up.”
The winners in each event and those making the state cut qualify for next Saturday’s state meet. Vanek and Foley, who won the 200 free and 500 free, respectively, qualified for state while Bohling, Beck, Clarisa Cortez will join Foley in the 200 free relay.
“I kind of thought the 500, the 2-free relay and the back were opportunities for us,” Pavlovich said.
The Seahorses 200 medley relay of Vanek, Beck, Savannah Kunas and Bohling also won to qualify. Diving was also huge as Moria Glowacki won for the Seahorses, while Eleanor Wilson was fourth and Carson Kekelik fifth. The top four divers move on to Tuesday’s diving regional in Mishawaka.
Spears won the 50 and 100 frees to qualify for state, while L.C.’s 200 free relay of Paige Bakker, Michaela Spears, Hanna Spoolstra and Savanna Spears made the state cut. Maggie DePirro won the 100 fly, and the 400 free relay of Bakker, Adisyn Sawaska, Spoolstra and Savanna Spears also advanced.
“Munster just had a little bit more power at the end of the meet than we did,” L.C. coach Todd Smolinski said. “We were able to come back in the four-free relay and put out a great swim. We were just trading blows back and forth all meet. I’m proud of the girls. They swam well, they swam with their hearts. I can’t ask for anymore, and we’re looking forward to state.”
Crown Point’s Jordan Artim won the 200 individual and 100 breaststroke to qualify for state.