As Seymour sophomore Joey Cole performed her second dive at the beginning of Saturday’s meet at Jennings County, her head struck the diving board as she headed toward the water.
Several people rushed over to help her out of the water and lay her flat along the pool deck.
Emergency personnel arrived and took her to the hospital, where was treated for a broken nose and abrasions around her eye. Other than that, she is expected to be OK, Seymour coach Dave Boggs said.
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During that scary situation, a scene of sportsmanship occurred on one side of the pool.
Swimmers from both teams joined hands as Cole was being treated. Then when she was carried off of the pool deck, the Jennings County swimmers lined in front of the Seymour swimmers, and one of the Panthers’ captains led the teams in prayer.
The teams’ coaches and divers agreed at that point to not continue with diving, and they took a short warm-up break before starting the swimming portion of the meet.
Seymour went on to take the sweep, with the boys winning 99-70 and the girls winning 111-59.
Boggs said not continuing with diving was the right call.
“I explained to the boys and girls Joey’s condition and what I saw, and we decided just to go on the best we can and continue on with the meet,” he said. “She was moving all of her extremities, and I think she was more scared than anything else, which is totally understandable.”
Two of Seymour’s captains thought it was a nice touch for Jennings County to join hands with them and lead a prayer.
“I feel like our team, we really have each other this year, and we’re super close. It was really nice how the Jennings County team was standing by us during that time,” senior Alexis Anders said.
Senior Caleb O’Brien said he told the team it still had a job to do, which was to swim. And they did that for Cole.
“Yeah, that (incident) made it more difficult, but it kind of gave us motivation for why we should win,” he said. “I was trying to get people to stay focused on the meet and not on what happened.”
After Seymour opened the meet by sweeping the 200-yard medley relay, Jennings County’s Ashton Koons (2:11.71), Gretchen Sherrill (2:15.07) and Megan Koons (2:16.48) took the top three spots in the 200-yard freestyle. Then in the boys race, the Panthers’ Peyton Moore won in 1:56.16, and teammate Trey Hundley finished third in 2:15.94.
But the Owls charged back by winning 16 of the next 18 events.
For the Seymour girls, Katie Turner and Sarah Montgomery both won two individual events. Turner took the 50-yard freestyle in 26.71 and the 100-yard freestyle in 57.40, while Montgomery swam to first place in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:04.13 and the 100-yard backstroke in 1:05.85.
Both girls also were on the winning 200-yard medley relay with Anders and Kenzie Persinger that finished in 1:58.97 and the winning 400-yard freestyle relay with Persinger and Nastya Yakovlyeva that clocked 4:01.44. Seymour went 1-2-3 in the medley relay.
Anders and Yakovlyeva teamed with Molly Hayes and Mary Kate Pritchett to win the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:52.83 for a sweep in the relays on the day.
Other individual winners for the Seymour girls were Persinger in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:26.08, Yakovlyeva in the 500-yard freestyle in 6:01.52 and Pritchett in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:15.21.
Anders, the girls team’s sole senior, said she likes what she has seen in the squad, which improved to 10-1 on the season.
“This year, we have a lot of young swimmers and a few returning, but we have improved so much this year,” she said. “We still have the back half to go, so it’s really exciting to think about what we can do because our winter practices are the hardest, and we have that coming up.”
In the boys meet for Seymour, Daniel Hartman won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:11.70 and turned around a couple of events later and won the 100-yard butterfly in 59.98.
Hartman also was on the 200-yard medley relay team with O’Brien, Steve Frohling and Dalton Polley that opened the meet with a win in 1:56.05 and the 400-yard freestyle relay team with Polley, Noah Bullard and Skyler Cash that closed the meet with a win in 3:41.68.
The boys also made it a sweep in the relays by taking first in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Cash, O’Brien, Frohling and Bullard won in 1:41.78.
The other individual winners were Bullard in the 100-yard freestyle in 52.42, O’Brien in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:04.14 and Frohling in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:11.35.
The Seymour boys finished the 2015 portion of their season at 9-2.
“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think we’d have as many people as we did, and it turned out we did,” O’Brien said. “I was surprised with some of the kids that haven’t swam before. They kind of turned out a lot better than I expected people that have never swam before to start.”
Even though the swimmers are out of school for Christmas break, they will still be in the pool. Their practices will be from 7:30 to 11 a.m. every weekday except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and some will swim on the next two Saturdays.
“We’ll hit it hard and increase our yardage and intensity,” Boggs said. “We’re ready to switch over to our Phase 3 of swimming and go with that. We’ll continue our workouts, continue to improve on our technique and details and the finer things and maybe race even better and smarter and get really tuned up rolling for sectional.”