CANTON: The Northeast Classic is as good a measure for swimmers as any event during the regular season.
The swimmers sensed the importance of the all-day event that culminated Saturday night at C.T. Branin Natatorium, which also is the site of the state championships.
Meet records fell in 14 of the 24 events with superb performances by several boys and girls.
Perhaps the biggest performance came from Chase Kinney of Jackson.
The junior, who was Division I runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle and fourth in the 100 freestyle, set meet records in the 100 with a time of 50.79 and the 50 in 23.25.
Jackson coach Kelli Ohman admitted she was caught off-guard by Kinney’s big day
“I am shocked, but not surprised,” Ohman said. “For her to come off such a gruelling workout regiment, then to come in here and perform the way she does, does not surprise me. She obviously is swimming faster than she did when she went to state last year.”
Kinney said the event for her is the equivalent of having two meets in one day.
“I am really amazed that I have my best times now in the middle of the season and after Christmas break. I came back in the finals and pushed really hard,” Kinney said.
Katie Miller from Firestone, one of the top swimmers in country as well as the state, has several records at the event, adding the 100 backstroke in 55.35 Saturday, as well as winning the 200 freestyle, where she set the record in 2011 of 1:49.39
Miller and Firestone teammates Emily O’Brien, Jillian Stoneburg and Natalie O’Brien took away a record set earlier in the day’s preliminaries in the 400 freestyle relay by Granville with a time of 3:34.47.
“My 100 back felt really good and the adrenaline carried over into the relay,” Miller said.
Emily O’Brien, the senior who swam the second leg after Miller led off, said: “It was really fun to get a record with them; it means a lot.”
Natalie O’Brien, the anchor, said: “I just did not want to get caught and have to apologize afterward.”
Defending state champion Danielle Margheret of Walsh Jesuit joined in the record-setting fun with a time of 1:04.32 in the 100 breast stroke, close to the 1:02.7 that was her winning time at state.
“The morning session [at the University of Akron] was more of getting my stroke back after the two-a-days after winter break and finals last week in trying to get back into a rhythm,” Margheret said.
Mitch Alters looks ready for a big postseason. The senior from North Canton Hoover won the 200 freestyle in 1:43.20 and was on the 200 freestyle relay team with Thomas Tedrow, Brian Giannetti and Stephen Watson that set the mark in the event with a time of 1:25.95.
“This is the last big meet to get up and see where I’m at,” Alters said. “To train this hard when I am not yet at 100 percent is really good.”
Jimmy Dagley of Hudson was another outstanding swimmer, winning the 100 freestyle in 46.65, his career best, to edge Mark Belanger of Firestone (46.83).
“Being here at this time of the season and doing what I did gives you confidence for the rest of the season,” Dagley said.
Belanger, a junior, won the 100 backstroke in 52.10.
In the 1-meter diving, sophomore Alex Obendorf of Hudson won on the boys side.
Olivia Bell of Powell Olentangy Liberty was the girls 1-meter winner with senior Taryn McLaughlin of Hudson second.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/