By Ben Stroup
Area swimmers represented themselves quite well on the first day of the Division I swimming championships inside the C.T. Branin Natatorium Friday in Canton.
Six different individuals qualified for a combined 10 event finals while all eight of Delaware County’s state-qualifying relay teams punched tickets to today’s championship round with solid preliminary showings.
On the girls’ side, Hayes junior Brooke Glesenkamp earned a spot in today’s A-Final (top eight in state) in both the 50 and 100 freestyles. She finished sixth in both events with respective times of 23.68 and 51.62 seconds.
Olentangy senior Ellie Nebraska and Liberty sophomore Rachel Peroni qualified for one A-Final and one B-Final apiece.
Nebraska finished eighth in the 200 freestyle (1:51.99) and ninth in the 100 freestyle (51.83 seconds) while Peroni finished fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:06.88) and 10th in the 100 butterfly (56.24 seconds).
Liberty’s 200 freestyle relay team (Ally Braun, Abby Noonan, Lila Leary and Peroni) also earned a spot in the upcoming A-Final, closing eighth among the 24 teams competing in preliminaries in a time of 1:37.40.
The Patriots’ 400 freestyle relay team (Braun, Noonan, Leary and Peroni) finished 11th (3:34.26) to earn a spot in the event’s B-Final.
Hayes’ 200 freestyle relay team (Danielle Ward, Marisa Sulek, Kristen Puthoff and Glesenkamp) finished 11th in 1:38.61 while the Pacers’ 400 freestyle relay team (Ward, Valerie Keller, Puthoff and Glesenkamp) finished 16th (3:35.72) to earn a couple more B-Final spots. Olentangy’s 200 (Nebraska, Grace Horstman, Bridget Parker and Abbigale Newman) and 400 (Nebraska, Parker, Olivia Gollmar and Newman) freestyle relay teams nabbed a pair of 15th-place performances in respective times of 1:38.87 and 3:35.33 to keep their seasons alive.
In boys’ action, Olentangy sophomore Benjamin Kuriger made the biggest jump from preliminary seeding to finish, closing 10th, six spots better than he entered, in the 100 butterfly. His preliminary time of 50.80 seconds was nearly a second better than his district mark of 51.58.
Olentangy senior Winston Kuriger finished 10th in the 100 freestyle (46.34 seconds) and 10th in the 100 backstroke (51.58 seconds) to earn his spot in a pair of B-Finals and Liberty senior Jack Saczawa finished eighth in the 100 backstroke (51.19 seconds) to advance to today’s A-Final.
Liberty junior James Loftus finished 20th in the 50 freestyle (21.76 seconds) to see a solid individual season come to a close. He was a member of a pair of championship-qualifying relay teams, though. He joined forces with Michael Racke, Turner Schade and Saczawa to finished 13th in the 400 freestyle relay and 11th in the 200 medley relay in respective times of 3:13.76 and 1:36.62.
The girls and boys Division I finals are set to get underway today at 4 p.m.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.