By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy Christian’s boys swimming team shocked the area over the weekend, defeating Tippecanoe and a slew of other Division II powers to win a team sectional championship Friday night.
It even came as a shock to the Eagles — mainly because they didn’t find out about it until the day after the competition.
“We didn’t know what the team scores were until the next day,” Troy Christian coach Jim Fulton said. “It’s kind of tough to follow in swimming — especially at the sectional. We thought for sure we were a solid second, but it wasn’t until the next day that the scores were released.”
Troy Christian and Tippecanoe both competed at the Trotwood site for the sectional meet, but with results being compiled from three other sites on the same night, it made it difficult to judge who else did what. Even for the individual district qualifiers, it was tough — only the top two competitors from each site in each event automatically qualified, with times being compared from every site combined to decide who else advanced.
The Eagles sent eight athletes individually, some in multiple events, and all three relay teams on to this weekend’s district meet at Miami University — which begins Friday. That much they knew the night of the competition.
But when Fulton got word that they’d won the sectional title, edging out the Red Devils 334-323 in the team standings … well, it was fortunate that he was sitting down.
“I just about fell out of my chair,” he said with a laugh. “We were pretty excited.”
The Eagles’ makeup as a team adds a layer to the accomplishment — the team is extremely young, with no seniors and only two juniors.
“They’re young, yeah. But we have eight quality swimmers,” Fulton said. “We don’t have anyone like a Jay Bell or Evan Stapp like Tipp, but altogether, we’re just solid. And for such a tiny school, we’ve got a fairly large boys team.
“I knew this was going to be a special year coming into it. I just didn’t realize quite how much.”
Junior Ezekiel Fulton won an individual sectional title in the 100 breaststroke, and fellow junior Matthew Moebius qualified for district in the 50 free and 100 free. Joining them at the district meet are sophomores Sam Lavielle (50 free), Josiah Biller (100 fly) and Jacob Voisinet (100 breast) and freshmen Alexander Klint (200 free and 100 back), Matthew Newcomer (100 back and 100 fly) and Grant Doucette (500 free and 200 IM).
“Everyone was dropping times like crazy,” Fulton said. “We sent eight people on to district, someone in every event. And our fastest swimmer, Sam Lavielle, was injured. He was able to go just hard enough to get out in the 50 free, but we had to take him off the 200 and 400 free relays — and even without him, the 200 free team set the school record. It was a great night.”
And while the Eagles are extremely proud of the accomplishment, the more important thing to them is to continue to improve as a team.
“In swimming, you very rarely look at team scores,” Fulton said. “It’s about the individual events and relays — the main thing is looking at times and making sure there’s improvement. If I have a kid that gets last place in his heat but drops his personal best time, I’m a happy coach. So sometimes, it can be a misunderstood thing.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie in swimming. Our guys are all close to the Tipp guys and all the other guys teams. Everyone knows everybody, everybody roots for everyone else to do well. Most of the time, it’s not about winning. It’s about improving.”
The district tournament begins with the D-I and II boys swimming at 10:45 a.m. Friday at Miami University, with the D-I and II girls competing at 5:45 p.m. Saturday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.