FRANKLIN, Ind. – For the third straight year, conference bragging rights are on the line when six Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) swimming & diving programs head to the Vigo County Aquatics Center on Feb. 13-15 for the 2020 HCAC Championships.
The Franklin women will be in search of their third straight HCAC crown, having captured the first two conference titles since the event's inception in 2018. For the third straight year, the Grizzlies completed an unbeaten regular season record in dual competition and have won 33 straight dual competitions. The Grizzlies have dominated each of the first two league championships, winning last year's championship by a whopping 430 points.
For the Franklin men, they're in search of back-to-back league titles after securing their first championship with a win in the final race at last year's event. The Grizzlies can expect a stiff challenge from league rival Rose-Hulman, who won the first HCAC crown in 2018 and finished as runner-up a year ago. The Engineers narrowly won the head-to-head meeting between the two teams back on Jan. 24, taking a 148-140 win.
The Franklin women have set the bar for success all season long and come into the weekend with the top time in 17 of the 18 races scheduled to take over the weekend. Individually, junior Brynna Sentel all swimmers with season-best times in four events after besting all league swimmers throughout the year in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, mile and 100 backstroke. The reigning HCAC Female Swimmer of the Year also had the league's best time in the 1000 freestyle this season.
Fellow junior Courtnee Coffman has been the top sprinter in the league and enters the weekend with the top times in both the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle. The New Palestine, Ind.-native also claimed the league's best time in the 100 butterfly earlier this year. Freshman Caileigh McCafferty heads into the weekend holding the league's top times in the 200 backstroke and 200 IM while holding the number two times in the 200 free, 100 breaststroke and the 100 butterfly.
Other event leaders include August Hartzell in the 200 breaststroke, Anna Perkins in the 200 butterfly and Ashley Snoke in the 100 breaststroke. Additionally, Franklin is the overwhelming favorites in each of the five scheduled relays (200 free, 400 free, 800 free, 200 medley & 400 medley) with their best times in each event at least seven seconds better than the next best team in the field.
The official heat sheets for the event will not be released until the morning of the first event.
Defending Their Crown
Franklin's men will have a tough three-day stretch in front of them, as they are expected to battle neck-and-neck with Rose-Hulman for the league crown. Junior and defending HCAC Male Swimmer of the Year Charlie Hall carries the year's top times in the three events he won at last year's championships; the 200 butterfly, 200 IM and 400 IM.
The Grizzly men will have several swimmers that are no stranger to gold medals at the conference championships, with Ben Doss, James Hone, Zach Rayce and Noah Tallman all capturing wins either individually or in one of the five relays. Dylan Harker and Mac Howard also found their way to the podium last year, collecting third place finishes and earning pivotal points for the Grizzlies.
Rose-Hulman enters the weekend with the most top times across the board, but the Grizzlies have been right on the host's heels for the entirety of the year.
All three of Franklin's divers will look to continue strong freshman campaigns in their first league championships. For the men, Gauge Creech and Collin Barton have amassed the top scores on both boards this year and the freshman duo have combined to sweep all nine HCAC Diver of the Week awards this season with Creech capturing the weekly honor six times and Barton earning three honors.
For the women, Faith Jackson enters the weekend with top 11-dive score off the one-meter board and the second-highest point total off the three-meter board. A four-time HCAC Diver of the Week, Jackson bested the other divers competing this weekend across all dual competitions this year on both the one and three-meter boards.
How to Follow
Links to live results can be found at the top of the page or at the HCAC's championship website, which can also be found at the top of the page. Results and a recap will be posted after the finals on all three days. Follow us on Twitter @FCGrizAthletics for updates throughout or follow us on Instagram @franklingrizzlies for behind-the-scenes photos and videos from the three-days in Terre Haute.