NORMAL – The season keeps getting better and better for the Richwoods boys swimming and diving team.

The Knights capped a team victory in the Normal West Sectional by winning the 400 free relay and holding off the host Wildcats in the process.

Richwoods finished with 215 points, while NW, which tied the Knights for the Big 12 Conference title a week earlier, was second with 183. It was the first sectional team title for the Knights since 2001.

"They exceeded my expectations across the board, from top to bottom," Richwoods coach Lynn Thompson said. "I had 100 percent lifetime best swims.

"But I told them that winning sectional was not my goal. My goal was for them to all swim fast, try and make qualifying times, and get their lifetime bests. To see the smiles on their faces and their happiness, it makes it all worthwhile."

Thompson was voted the sectional swimming coach of the year at the meet.

The Knights had a 26-point lead over the Wildcats going into 400 relay, which NW won to get the conference tie.

But the Richwoods foursome of Zack Dollman, Jared Aviles, Jacob Greenan and Daniel Matlock dropped nine seconds off last week’s runner-up time to win the race in 3:14.28.

"I had no idea we were going to drop nine seconds," Matlock said. "We were getting hyped up for that relay before we even swam the medley relay. We knew we had a shot in the 400 free. That’s what we thought we were going to get to state in."

Matlock also qualified for state as an individual for the fourth straight year.

He won the 200 IM for the third straight year in 1:53.79 and qualified for state in the 100 butterfly. He beat the state qualifying standard with a time of :50.87 in a runner-up finish.

"That’s the second best time I’ve ever done the 100 fly," Matlock said. "And the 200 IM win was huge for me. My past two 200 IM swims haven’t been under two minutes. To go that low now is just great."

The Metamora Co-op opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay in 1:38.40. The Redbirds went into the meet seeded fourth, but came through with the team of Michael Meinert (backstroke), Justin Alderson (breaststroke), Dalton Brown (butterfly) and Noah Nelson (freestyle).

"It was magic, and I didn’t expect it," Metamora coach Shane Morrison said. "I told them we could pull the upset, because you try to pump them up. Then it actually happened.

"We had never won a sectional relay, so it was history for our boys. It’s almost like going to state for the first time."

Alderson qualified for state for the third straight year in both the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke by beating the qualifying standards. He finished second behind Matlock in the 200 IM in 1:54.87 and second in the 100 fly in :58.45.

"I’m about a week through tapering, so it’s pretty similar to last year," he said. "The back halves of my races, especially, I would start to feel the lack of a full taper.

"But I'm not worried. I’m just excited to see what I can do next weekend up at state."

Notre Dame senior diver Gabe Ferlmann repeated as sectional champion with a school-record total of 458.00 for his 11 dives. It was the 14th highest score overall in sectional competition.

Johnny Campos can be reached at 686-3214 or Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.