July 13, 2021 at 5:57 p.m.

Jay County wins WVC

9-10-year-old girls lead the way as swimmers end season undefeated
Jay County wins WVC
Jay County wins WVC

It was a two-team race for the title Saturday.

The host team came away victorious.

The Jay County Summer Swim Team capped a perfect season by placing first in the Wabash Valley Conference Championships it hosted at Portland Water Park.

Jay County, which was first in 30 of 62 individual events and nine of 20 relays, totaled 2,715 points to claim the title. Wells Community had 24 individual victories and 10 relay wins, earning 2,588 points for runner-up. Blackford (723) was a distant third place.

Elly Byrum and Maria Laux each had three conference championships and were part of both winning relay teams as the 9-and-10-year-old girls led the team once again. Byrum won the long freestyle, backstroke and short freestyle races, and Laux was first in the individual medley, butterfly and breaststroke events.

Addisyn Champ, Tuck Hemmelgarn, Raif Beiswanger, Mara Bader and Eliza Bader had three individual championships apiece. Champ, who on Sunday was named one of the team’s two Most Improved Swimmers, and Hemmelgarn both got victories in the butterfly, IM and breaststroke events in the 8-and-younger age group.

Beiswanger (11-and-12-year-old) beat the competition in the long freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke; Mara Bader was victorious in the open 200-yard freestyle and both the 15-and-older long freestyle and breaststroke; and Eliza Bader touched the wall first in the 15-and-older butterfly, backstroke and IM.

Eliza Bader and fellow 2021 JCHS graduate Kearston Myers were both named Jacqui Baxter Sportsmanship and Team Leadership Award winners on Sunday.

Brothers Sawyer Hemmelgarn (8-and-younger – long freestyle and backstroke) and Finn Hemmelgarn (9-and-10-year-old – long freestyle and short freestyle) had two wins apiece.

Abram Lee, Ben Fisher, Murphy Link, Morgan DeHoff and Kyle Sanders all had one conference title.

Also Sunday, Jay County named Sam Benirschke Rookie of the Year, and Carson Westgerdes was the other Most Improved Swimmer.

Rylan Heyerly of Wells Community set three pool and two conference records in the 11-and-12-year-old age group on Saturday.

His time of 32.1 seconds in the butterfly erased Jason Arnold’s pool record of 32.81 set in 1984 and Kyle Weaver’s conference record of 32.83 set in 1997.

In the IM, Heyerly had a time of 1 minute, 15.04 seconds, to beat the conference record of 1:15.47 set in 2005 by Timmy Toetz of Wells Community. Heyerly then lowered his own pool record in the short freestyle he broke earlier in the season (29.16 seconds) by swimming to a time of 28.5 seconds. His mark was also a new conference record, previously held by Philip Towne (28.77) set back in 2000.
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