ANGOLA — Brian Miller stood by the side of the pool Thursday night, grasped hands with his girls swimmers and leapt into the water as fans across the way stood and cheered.
The tradition — just a year old itself — is a celebration of an undefeated dual meet season, and this was the second year in a row Miller had taken the plunge. Miller arose from the water soaking wet and cold, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Hopefully we get to do this every year,” he said.
After an undefeated season last year, the Hornets’ girls swim team secured back-to-back 13-0 seasons with a 124-40 win over Bishop Dwenger Thursday night.
The Hornets have been propelled by a now-senior class each season, which has taken this program to new heights, Miller said.
“They’ve just been instrumental in bringing our program out to the forefront in this area and making sure everyone knows who Angola swimming is,” Miller said. “
Against the Saints, though, it was a pair of juniors which stood out. Angola claimed first place in every girls race against the Saints, paced by two apiece from Audra James and Maddie Toigo. James was first in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races, with times of 28.15 seconds and 1:11.49, respectively. Toigo claimed top spots in the 100-yard butterfly (1:08.62) and the 100-yard backstroke (1:11.49).
Other top finishes included seniors Taylor Clemens in the 200 free (2:09.8), Courtney Simmons in the 200 IM (2:35.08), Hannah Conley in the 500 free (6:34.76) and Sommer Stultz in the 100 breaststroke (1:15.66).
Up now for the Hornets is a trip to the highly-competitive Northridge Sectional. Miller said that, while his team has become a respected fixture in its own area, the field of elites that compete in this sectional present a totally different set of challenges, as well as inspiration for the future.
“I mean, you have Northridge, Concord, Wawasee and all these other schools that are just so good and have these well-established programs. That’s what we want to become,” Miller said.
“In some of these races, if we break the top five then that’s a success. But we definitely feel like we can be competitive and hopefully we can make those teams take recognition of us as well.”
Angola boys 109, Bishop Dwenger 49
The Angola boys swim team finished the regular season with a 10-3 record after a convincing win over the Saints in what was yet another sign of continued growth by an overwhelmingly young squad, Miller said.
The 10 wins was the most for the Hornets’ boys team during Miller’s six-year tenure as coach.
Jacob Pontorno and Marcus Miller each finished on top twice, with Pontorno claiming top spots in the 200 free (2:05.43) and the 100 breaststroke (1:14.97). Miller earned first-place finishes in the 200 IM (2:19.27) and the 100 free (54.77).
Griffin Hosek (100 butterfly, 1:05.84) and Zacchaeus Creager (50 free, 24.23) also won their respective events.
“All of these guys will be back next year, so the team itself is pretty young,” Miller said. “These guys continue to grow and get better, and I can’t wait to see where they take this team.”