Area swimmers solid in state prelims

By Ben Stroup - [email protected]

Area standouts made some serious noise during Friday’s Division I preliminaries, ensuring today will be a busy one at the OHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Olentangy senior Benjamin Kuriger punched a ticket to a pair of A finals (top eight in the state), finishing the prelims with the third-fastest time in the boys 200 freestyle (1:39.24) and fourth-fastest effort in the 100 butterfly (49.26 seconds).

The Braves’ Bridget Parker also qualified for two of today’s A finals. She advanced in the girls 200 IM with the eighth-fastest prelim swim (2:04.40). She was eighth in the 500 freestyle as well (5:00.05).

Olentangy Liberty senior Rachel Peroni also had a strong first day, advancing to today’s A final in the girls 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke with respective times of 55.34 and 55.06 seconds. Both efforts were the third-fastest in the respective events.

Peroni’s teammate, sophomore Kate Saczawa, was also solid in the 100 backstroke. She qualified for the A final with the fifth-fastest prelim time (56.03 seconds).

Other area standouts who qualified for A finals included the Patriots’ girls 200 freestyle relay team (Saczawa, Lila Leary, Abby Noonan and Peroni), which finished seventh in the preliminary round with a time of 1:36.91.

Hayes’ quartet of Danielle Ward, Valerie Keller, Lauren Ertz and Rena Ouyang also competed in the event, finishing 23rd in 1:39.89 to see its solid season come to a close.

The county will be represented in a handful of B finals as well. Saczawa finished ninth in the 50 freestyle prelims (23.94 seconds) and Delaware Hayes’ boys 200 freestyle relay team (Kael Gannon, Lucas Pape, Zach Ward and Andrew Parker) closed 16th in its prelim.

The Pacer foursome, which already owns a school record in the event thanks to last week’s state-qualifying effort at districts, lowered the mark again, finishing in 1:27.46 to keep its season alive.

The Braves’ Grace Butcher also advanced, finishing with the 11th-best time in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.23), and Liberty’s girls 400 freestyle relay team (Peroni, Leary, Noonan and Saczawa) finished 11th in its event (3:33.17).

In Thursday’s action, Orange’s Lauren Cheetham nabbed a top-three showing in the girls 1-meter diving event. The junior finished third with a finals score of 462.45.

Mount Notre Dame senior Teagan Moravek won the state title in the event, closing with a score of 479.85 while Gahanna Lincoln junior Maycey Vieta was second with an effort of 466.30.

By Ben Stroup

[email protected]