Disney Mullins Dabbles in Diving and Drama

disney-mullins-by-max-fisherOne week she’s auditioning for the school play, the next week she’s diving headfirst off the diving board. Sophomore Disney Mullins is a busy girl with many interests, which can sometimes be rough, especially on a high schooler. Even with the stress it may come with, she manages to make things work in her favor.

Mullins has been diving since the eighth grade and even though she is three years into the sport, she has managed to achieve a notably high score. In her first year of diving at Jeffersonville High School, she received an MVP award for scoring the most points out of all of her team’s divers.

“I think diving is unique… it’s different from all the other sports out there, and I think that’s what makes it cool and exciting,” she says. “Plus it’s fun to do flips and stuff.”

In addition, Mullins has been doing theater since the age of three. So far, she has
managed to land a total of five leads by age 14, including Oliver Twist from “Oliver! the musical”, Gertrude McFuzz from “Seussical Jr.”, and Tinkerbell in “Peter Pan Jr.” “I really liked Peter Pan,” she states. “It was fun throwing glitter into the audience and into people’s faces.”

One of the biggest issues she has faced is timing. Diving season starts in the fall and
concludes in late winter. Meanwhile, the plays are scattered throughout the year. With the two activities occurring at the same time, Mullins thought she would have to choose one or the other. To her surprise, the coach and theater director were very considerate and helped her figure out a way to do both.

For example, during last year’s diving season, the theater department was rehearsing for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. “I would go to the most important rehearsals and when there was a dive meet, I’d go to that,” Mullins comments.

Although diving and theater might seem very different, they have one thing in common: Mullins always has an audience. And as long as she has one, she will continue to thrive in what she enjoys.

Boys/Girls Swimming and Diving


After an impressive runner-up finish at sectionals last year, the Jeffersonville High School Boys swim team lost 5 varsity seniors. This year the team is low on numbers, but head coach Michael Pepa says the team is doing “better than I thought.”

With the smaller team, they have had to make some changes, such as having divers swim some events. Something Junior diver, Max Cathey described as challenging, yet helpful to the team. While it can be frustrating for the divers, Head Diving Coach, Holden Henderson says it pays off, “The net benefit is worth it,” he says. While the small numbers cost the team at dual meets, their strong individual performances will should  pay off in the State tournament. The small numbers also have helped with team  comradery. Senior co-captain, Jonas Gillam says, “we’re a lot closer because of it.” With all the hard work this season, especially over Christmas break the team is ready for a strong postseason.

Looking forward, the team is primarily focused on getting as many people to state as possible. Freshman, Evan Dickson says if they “keep at it, and show up every day,” he believes they can achieve those goals.


The Jeffersonville High School girls swimming and diving team is coming off an impressive second-place finish at Sectionals last year. And this year with strong senior leadership, they believe they have a shot to take back the sectional title. Their goal this year is simple, “Win sectionals,” says freshman Samantha Elsner.

Head coach Michael Pepa says they have been training really well as a group, and he noted the team’s cohesiveness and positive attitudes as reasons for success. Pepa credits the work ethic to the senior leadership, saying,“They’re setting expectations a little higher this year.” Looking towards the postseason, the team has ramped up training, especially over winter break. “We’ve been training really hard, and the work is paying off,” says Senior Bonnie Dixon.

The team is also counting on a strong performance from Sophomore diver, Disney Mullins. This year with two years of diving experience under her belt, Mullins believes she can provide crucial points for the team. “I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come from last year,” she says. With the work under their belt, to achieve their goals, Senior Captain Alyssa Miller says, “We just have to focus.”

Athlete Spotlight: Caroline Elliott

Senior Caroline Elliott has been swimming competitively since she was six years old, but the 2017-18 season may be her final one. Although she has received offers to swim in college, she is still weighing her options.
For now, she will continue to perform for the Red Devils, and serve as a role model for the younger girls on the team.
“I want them to know to keep trying, because this team is something they’re going to get to grow up with,” Elliott said about the younger swimmers.
In the pool, Elliott competes in the 100-meter breaststroke, an event she hopes to go to state in.
Elliott’s best time in the event is a 1:08, which she pulled off at Sectional last year.
She has also swam a 26.1 in the 50-meter freestyle, one of the best times on the team.
“Caroline was an awesome teammate,” said JHS senior, and former teammate, Amber Dumstorf. “She always encouraged me before races and at practice,”
While Elliott has proved herself as a swimmer, one could argue her involvement with clubs and organizations around the school is even more impressive. Currently, Elliott is the president of Key Club and Reilly’s Dance Marathon, an officer of Friends of Rachel, and a member of National Honors Society and Anchor Club.
“I’m proud of my balance,” Elliott said. “Swimming is a very time consuming sport, and I’m proud that I’m able to juggle that while keeping my grades up and staying involved. It’s not an easy thing to do.”
For now, she’ll continue to compete at a high level for the Red Devils, while continuing her work in the community as a part of five different clubs at Jeff.

Record-Drowning Red Devils

by: Haylee Hedrick and Adrian Blair

Michael Jordan, Elvis Presley, Gene Kelly, Tom Brady and Albert Einstein are looked at as superior for dominating within their field. They showcase power and influence over others — otherwise known as dominance.

The JHS boys and girls swim teams have been dominating within the Hoosier Hills for years, gradually beating fierce competitors and overcoming tough obstacles.

Second-year head coach Mike Pepa has witnessed his team push themselves to success.    

“From a school standpoint, I think we’re one of the most successful programs in the building as far as our record in the conference, how we place at conference, Sectionals and at state,” Pepa said. “I think we’re probably one of the top three programs in the school building over the last 6-8 years, as far as dominance compared to our conference.”


There are over 3,000 high school girl swimmers throughout the Hoosier state, which correlates into over 200 teams. The girls JHS swim team are ranked 24 out of those 244 teams.

This year, the girls won all 12 dual meets in the Hoosier Hills Conference, as well as the conference championship meet. The swimmers, along with the girls basketball team, were the only JHS team to go undefeated during conference play.

On Feb. 4, the girls took home first place at Sectionals. Jeffersonville was down 48 points going into the second half of the meet due to the fact that there currently aren’t any divers on the team. With that in consideration, the meet came down to the 400-yard freestyle relay, where Jeff took home first place to edge Floyd Central 465-464.

“Our biggest issue has been not having enough divers,” said Junior Caroline Elliot. “We had two new girl divers who were ineligible to compete in meets due to not having enough dives, and our other diver suffered an injury just before conference leaving us without any divers during Sectional.”

At Sectional, the team broke two Sectional records, two pool records and three school records.

Senior Jacqueline Richard was part of a school record-breaking 200 medley relay. Senior Adeline Dixon broke her own school records in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM. Junior Rachel Walker also broke her own record in the 200. Walker’s goal is to win a state meet by the time she graduates from JHS.

“Rachel Walker is our fastest girl swimmer. She’s one of the fastest high school swimmers in the state of Indiana,” Pepa said.

Walker qualified for the state finals in both of her events. She qualified fifth in the 500, with her time leaving her in the top seven in the state. She finished 14th in the 200.

The team is also poised to be good in the future, as well. Freshman Megan McEwen and fellow freshman Alyssa Miller, were both part of the 200 freestyle relay that placed second.

“We have two freshmen that made huge impact on the girls team: Megan McEwen and Alyssa Miller,” Pepa said. “Our two most improved swimmers on the girls team are Emma Ellis and Tonya Williams. They did a heck of a job this year compared to last year.”


The boys team lost seven swimmers from last year. Though thin in numbers, their season was a successful one, consisting of placing in conference despite being made up of mostly underclassmen.

“We’re in a little bit of a re-building phase, but we have the benefit of having some really strong swimmers from the front side, and then developing some new swimmers would be great,” Pepa said.

While the loss of seven boys swimmers stung, it was cause for a total team reconstruction. First-year boys swimmer Kip Jackson believes that the boys team is just a few guys away from being even more dominant.

“This year, we have a very young team, mostly freshman and sophomores. So we are seeing where the underclassmen fit best, whether it be relays or individual events,” Jackson, a junior, said. “There are only four seniors on the boys team and three seniors on the girls team. Hopefully after summer training, we will be back on top next year because I know we are all hungry for that Sectional title.”

On Jan. 28, the boys placed as conference runner-up behind Floyd Central. The Red Devils had three individual conference champions: sophomore Kameron Case with two (100 and 200 freestyle), and freshman Carter Dilger with one (100 butterfly.)  

“For boys, Kameron Case was fastest in conference in his events, Levin Martin was very strong in his event, and we have Carter Dilger, who hopefully will have the opportunity to go to state maybe even place at state in his event,” Pepa said.  

Dilger was top three in the state for 14-and-under in 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.  Case said his fastest event was the 200 yard freestyle. His time for that was 1:48.

The boys also placed third in Sectional, losing to Seymour (second) and Floyd (first). Case placed first in the 100 (48:07)  and 200 (1:44.73). Both Dilger and Case with also be representing JHS at the state finals on Feb. 25.

The rest of the story …

Most athletes have a certain amount of time they must abide by when it comes to their performance. However, swimming is one of the few sports that doesn’t have that.

“We don’t have to worry about playing time…we worry about the clock. The clock doesn’t lie,” Pepa said.   

In swimming, dropping a few seconds off of your last time is viewed as a success.

“Everyone has the same goal, whether you’re trying to be in the Olympics or whether this is your first season you’ve ever swam competitively,” Pepa said. “(That goal is) a personal best time.”  

While swimming is a strenuous and time-consuming sport, Pepa believes the athletes on his team are some of the best around the school.

“It’s motivating to be around student athletes who perform well in the classroom and constantly try to reach their goal and potential,”  Pepa said. “Swimming is not an easy sport. It’s an awful lot of hours and it’s very demanding. It all weighs on you mentally as well.”

In total, most of the JHS swim team trains 18 hours and 45 minutes a week to better their performance, further proving their devotion to the sport.

“Training hard, having dedication, and consequently reaching your potential faster than anybody else that we compete against — to me that’s dominance,” Pepa said.

Jeffersonville Girls Swimming claim Sectional Championship

Photos by Phillip Steinmetz

Jeffersonville edges Floyd Central 465-464 after winning 400 yard medley relay to clinch the Sectional championship.

The Red Devils finish with 24 best times, five events won, three school records, two meet records and two pool records.

Out with the Old; Now, Worthy of the Gold

Story by Haylee Hedrick

It is a place that has seen a visit from U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte, a swimmer that has racked up 12 total medals in his three Summer Games. It has helped train Ben Hesen, a 2004 JHS graduate, to become an NCAA champion and three-time All-American.

Now, the Jeffersonville High School swimming pool is undergoing a major renovation for the first time in the pool’s storied history.

A big part of any school renovation that is commonly overlooked is the preparation beforehand. Maintenance man Jim Dodds took part in the strategic preparation process, which included repainting, updated record board, new utilities installed and improving the air quality of the facility.

Dodds and plumber Paul Berry were responsible for draining the pool. Due to the design of the pool, the last three feet of water had to be manually pumped out and completely dried so that it could be repainted.

“It took three days and 240,00 gallons of water to refill the pool,” Dodds said.

He also stated it took 12 gallons of chlorine to get the pool back to swimming conditions.

“Once finished, it’s really going to enhance the facility, making it look more professional,” Dodds said.

Jeff High swimmer Caroline Elliot (Junior)  feels it was time for a renovation to be done and that her and her teammates really deserve it.

“I believe that the pool renovation was 100-percent necessary. It hasn’t been renovated since it was built, ” Elliot said.

She stated that it was time to show the pool some TLC, even though it left her JHS swim team members without an indoor pool for the last couple of months to practice in.

She added that she can’t wait for their first home meet to show off the hard work that has been put into the renovation.

Swim coach Michael Pepa was thrilled when he first heard about the renovation.

“Yes, (the update) was needed from the standpoint of improving the air quality,” Pepa said. “Certainly improving the aesthetics allows us to house a facility that the school and community can be proud of.”

With the renovations, Pepa said the swimmers will be able to train under better conditions thanks to the installation of new, large ceiling fans. In the past, high chlorine levels caused swimmers to have “ chlorine cough” and warm conditions made it difficult for swimmers to breathe.  

The bottom of the pool has been painted with new black lane lines and a new “records” wall will be utilized to give the facility an updated look.

The completion date that Pepa is hoping for is in Fall 2016.