Columbian’s Mont, 400 free relay excel, move on to today’s races

PHOTO SUBMITTED Columbian’s Sergi Mont swims in the 100 fly in the Division II state swim meet in Canton.

CANTON — At the beginning of the day Thursday, Columbian coach Matthew Campbell thought his swimmers were all set to go.

They were in Canton, at the state’s biggest meet, the Division II boys swimming championships, and had entries in four events.

Exchange student Sergi Mont was a part of all four. He was competing in two individual events, the 100 free and the 200 IM. He also was part of the 400 free relay with Cole Eisenhower, Josh Fanning and Clay Moore, and the 200 free relay with Eisenhower, Moore and Colin Burkett.

“At the start of the day, everyone was pretty much ready to go,” Campbell said. “And then they got to the pool, and the nerves started to set in. This was the first time Sergi had been nervous for a meet, pretty much all year, and I believe it was because of the stage he was on.”

Mont might have been anxious, but he was still magnificent. In the 200 IM, he swam in 1:59.07, the 14th-best time of the 24 swimmers. In the 100 free, he had the 13th best time, 48.95 seconds.

PHOTO SUBMITTED Columbian’s 400 free relay team of (from left) Sergi Mont, Clay Moore, Cole Eisenhower and Josh Fanning pose for a picture after qualifying for finals at the state meet in Canton.

He qualified for today’s finals in each event.

In the 400 free, Columbian set a school record, as the team of Fanning, Moore, Eisenhower and Mont finished 15th in 3:22.2.

The only event in which the Tornadoes didn’t advance to finals was the 200 free relay, where they placed 23rd in 1:32.91.

Campbell said that Mont didn’t get the start he wanted in the 200 IM.

“He didn’t go out as hard as he needed to, but he had enough left in the tank to come back and secure a spot in the finals,” Campbell said.

And Campbell said that just by making the finals in that race, Mont was in a better frame of mind for the 100 free.

“He went into (it) with a ton of confidence after realizing he had made finals (in the 200 IM),” Campbell said. “He handled his turns, and that’s what his goal was. He nailed his turns, and it got him where he wanted to be.”

Mont was asked how it felt to get out in the individual events.

“That was great,” he said. “I think just the fact that we’ve been practicing really hard for the whole season (to be) able to achieve this.”

But Mont seemed most excited about the 400 free relay.

“That was awesome,” he said. “All of our team was really excited about it. All of us made a big effort in the end so we can just make it.”

Campbell said all four swimmers — Mont, Eisenhower, Moore and Fanning — were at their best in the event.

“In this race, everyone PR’d their 100-split,” Campbell said. “We dropped more than a second, almost a second and a half (off our time). Everyone did exactly what I asked them to do. They went out, everyone nailed their turns, their relay transitions were safe and secure. Nobody was worried in this race, because they knew they were going to do well.”

In the 200 free relay, Campbell said it was a victory reaching Canton.

“(It’s) never been our strong suit throughout the entire year,” Campbell said. “Making it to state meet, like we did last week, everyone was … everyone was on their game, 100 percent, ready to go, just like we were today for the 400 freestyle relay. The only difference today (in the 200 relay) was, we were in an outside lane.”

And that made things more difficult.

“It was just a tough race,” Campbell said. “It’s tough to be in an outside lane in a relay.”

Campbell said he’d like to see Mont and the relay move up in today’s events.

“We swam really well today, and a lot of people seemed really fatigued,” Campbell said. “But we seem like we’re on top, we’re ready to go. I expect Sergi (today) to be … the confidence is so much better. The whole team’s confidence is riding off that, is through the roof.”