CLEVELAND: The Hudson girls swim team took control of the Division I district meet at Cleveland State University’s Busbey Natatorium from the first whistle Saturday.
The Explorers won the opening race — the 200-yard medley relay — and notched two more firsts, and several seconds and thirds to win the title with 340 points.
Solon took second in the 31-team field with 188 points. Walsh Jesuit (171), Jackson (166), Firestone (148) and Brecksville (148) rounded out the top five teams.
“The girls are putting together a special season,” Hudson coach Matt Davis said. “They have won everything they have competed in all year. They have really come together as a team. We knew coming into the meet that as long as we got up and we swam hard and we raced, that we were going to be in a good position. I am proud of all 21 girls.”
Jackson senior Chase Kinney continued to look in championship form with three firsts.
Kinney, a University of Wisconsin recruit, set a meet record in the 50-yard freestyle (23.00) and matched the meet record in the 100 freestyle (50.33). She held the meet records based on her times from last year at CSU.
“Before the 50 I was really nervous,” Kinney said. “I wanted to go fast. I felt pretty good during my race. I was excited when I saw my time because it was my best time. When I got to the 100, I wasn’t nervous. I just wanted to get it over with. I didn’t feel as good as I did last year in the 100. When I saw my time, I was really surprised that I went that fast. I was really excited. It was weird to match my time.”
The top two in each event automatically qualify for the state meet at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Junior Paige Kelly won the 500 freestyle in 5:00.36 for Hudson. She also anchored the 400 freestyle relay that placed first and the 200 freestyle relay that took second.
“This is just crazy,” Kelly said. “It is really great to work hard all season and then see that all pay off for me and all of my teammates.”
The Explorers’ 200 medley relay unit consisted of sophomore Stephanie Boyd, senior Laura Murphy, senior Connie Gan and junior Jillian Saccogna and clocked a 1:47.16. Gan, Boyd, Murphy and Kelly finished the 400 freestyle relay in 3:31.80.
Kinney joined junior Elizabeth Graeff, sophomore Haley Loughner and freshman Kaitlyn Daiger to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:37.21.
Firestone senior Katie Miller won the 200 individual medley in 2:03.11 and the 100 backstroke in 56.31. She was also on the Falcons’ second-place 400 freestyle relay.
“I am super excited to go to state,” said Miller, a Notre Dame recruit. “I am not sick this year, so that makes me really happy. I am just swimming fast and having fun. These girls are so important to me. I love this team so much. It is so inspiring to just get to lead off that medley relay and be a part of all of this and all the tradition. I am honored to be able to go back to state representing Firestone.”
Freshman Lauren Heller and senior Danielle Margheret won individual championships for Walsh.
Heller won the 200 freestyle in 1:49.49 and placed second in the 100 freestyle in 51.24. Margheret won the 100 breast stroke in 1:04.47.
“After winning district my three years previous, I definitely didn’t want to cut that streak off the last year I would be here,” said Margheret, a Notre Dame recruit. “This means a lot to me. I have high expectations for myself at state. I always do.”
Heller and Margheret also took part in the Warriors’ second-place 200 medley relay.
Wooster freshman Jessica Bonezzi won the 100 butterfly in 56.72.
Copley sophomore Madison Myers was second twice, in the 200 freestyle (1:50.48) and in the 100 backstroke (56.43).
Other area seconds went to Murphy (200 IM, 2:05.14), Gan (100 butterfly, 57.37), Firestone junior Natalie O’Brien (500 freestyle, 5:05.40) and Wooster freshman Madison Whitman (100 breast stroke, 1:04.96).
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.