A year ago, Madison Central swimming coach John Stratman promised his team he would jump into the pool at Eastern Kentucky University’s Donald Combs Natatorium if they won a region title.
And he did.
Stratman made the same commitment again this season.
And once again, he took the plunge
This time, though, he took off his shoes first — and he had plenty of company.
“I told them we were all going into the pool,” Stratman said.
Madison Central earned its third-straight Region 9 combined team title by holding off Model Laboratory on Saturday in Richmond. The Indians won only five events, but used their depth to rack up 735 points.
Model won 10 events and finished with 657.5 points.
The Patriots rolled to the boys team title for the second-straight year, while Central took the girls team championship for the third-straight season.
Madison Southern finished second in the girls team competition, while Model was third.
Four athletes from Madison County won two individual events and local swimmers won all six relay events.
Model’s Victoria Taylor won the 200 free and the 100 breaststroke. Model’s Olivia Stotts took first place in the 200 IM and the 100 free. Model’s Isaac Brown won the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly and Central’s Isabella Cooksey took the title in the 500 free and the 100 backstroke.
Central won all three girls relays — the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free — while Model won all three boys relays.
“We have awesome kids,” Stratman said. “We have awesome coaches. We have awesome parents. It just all came together and we gave it our best. I’m happy with the way it ended up.”
Model’s Collin Jackson took the title in the 100 backstroke and was second in the 100 free as the Patriots beat out Central by more than 160 points for the boys team title.
“Our guys have bought in all season,” Model coach Kevin Knezevich said. “They are a very talented group of young men. Our leadership is amazing.”
Taylor’s time in the 200 free (1:55.15) was a new Region 9 record and also broke the school record set by Kaylin Burchell.
“She works her tail off — and it shows,” Knezevich said of Taylor. “Olivia works really hard too.”
Stotts set a new Region 9 record with a time of 54.49 in the 100 free.
Madison Central claimed a new Region 9 record in the 200 free relay (1:43.99) as well.
The top two finishers in each event advance to the KHSAA State Tournament, which is set for Feb. 20 through 22 at the University of Kentucky.
Several other local swimmers earned automatic bids to the year-end event.
Central’s Morgan Thomas took second in the 200 free. Central’s Leah Zimmerman was second in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 200 IM. Central’s Emma McDowell was second in the 50 free and third in the 100 butterfly. Central’s Olivia Young took second place in both the 100 fly and the 500 free.
Model placed second in all three girls relays.
Southern’s Davis Pingleton was second in both the 200 IM and the 100 back. Southern’s Logan Pisula took second in the 100 breaststoke.
Southern’s Hannah Robinson finished third in 500 free and fourth in 100 fly. The Lady Eagles placed third in both the 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Berea’s Katie Morgan finished fourth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 freestyle — setting new school records in both events.
Berea’s Caleb Campbell finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke and seventh in the 50 freestyle — and also set new school records in both those events.
Central’s Logan Reichley was third in the 100 fly and the 100 back. Central’s Kaiden Graves was third in both the 200 IM and the 500 free.
Model’s Anthony Nasrallah took third in the 200 IM and the 100 free, while Model’s Kaiden Collier was third in the 100 breaststroke.
Southern had 463 total points and finished third in the combined team standings.
Berea Community finished with 119 points — after recording only 10 last year — and finished 13th.
The rest of the field for the state meet in each event will be determined at-large times from across all nine regions.
Those results will be announced after the seeding meeting on Wednesday.
The KHSAA Region 9 diving competition took place last week at the University of Kentucky.
Madison Southern’s Reagan Patterson - an eighth-grade - took the girls title with a score of 369.4, beating out her two older sisters for the championship. Senior Flanary Patterson led after the semifinals, but took second place with a score of 363.40.
Sophomore Lainey Patterson was third with a score of 351.60 and Madison Central’s Cecilia Cobb was fourth.
Madison Central’s Seth Greer claimed the title with a score of 359.75. The sophomore has won three-straight region championships and is headed to the state meet for the fourth-straight year.
Model’s Danny Smith was second with a mark of 263.60 and will also move on to state.