Delaware County will be well represented at this week’s OHSAA Swimming and Diving State Tournament … especially on the diving boards.
Three of the five state qualifiers from last week’s boys Division I district 1-meter diving competition hail from right here in Delaware.
Olentangy Liberty sophomore Jack Matthews leads the trio fresh off Friday’s first-place performance at McCorkle Aquatic Pavillion. He took top honors with a score of 600.65. Olentangy Orange senior Luke Cheetham wasn’t far behind, finishing third with an effort of 519.95, and Delaware Hayes junior Sam Sulek was fourth with a score of 496.15.
Matthews and Cheetham are both making the trip to Canton’s C.T. Branin Natatorium for the second straight year. Matthews finished third in the state last winter with a score of 513.70 while Cheetham was eighth with a 453.10.
Sulek, meanwhile, will be making his first trip to the state showcase.
Sulek’s district showing — a school record and personal best — made him the Pacers’ first state qualifier in diving since 2006.
Hayes diving coach Stephanie Frisch said Sulek’s biggest strength is between his ears.
“Sam’s biggest advantage is his ability to remain focused,” she said. “He’s got some pretty big dives with high degrees of difficulty. He’s especially strong in his twisters.
“He’s working on a new dive or two for Canton … those will help keep him in the hunt.”
Sulek wasn’t the only Pacer to post a personal best at the district meet, either. Freshman Mark Sulek finished eighth with a 374.10 while sophomore Kelsie Keeder and freshman Isabel Crissinger finished 11th and 12th with respective scores of 329.90 and 312.35 on the girls’ side.
All four were personal bests.
“This group of kids is especially close,” Frisch said. “They’ve been teammates for at least six years in the summer and have close bonds. They support and encourage each other, which makes all of them better.”
The county will be represented in the girls Division I state 1-meter diving competition as well. Liberty’s Olivia Lynch earned the right to compete for a state title by finishing fourth at districts with a score of 506.85.
The girls Division I state diving preliminaries, semifinals and finals are set for Thursday, with the prelims slated to get underway at 9 a.m. The boys D-I diving competition is Saturday, also starting at 9 a.m.