The Stow-Munroe Falls High School boys swimming and diving team remained undefeated in the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division with a 121-62 victory over Brunswick on Dec. 20.
The girls team lost 121-62 to the Blue Devils during the home opener at Akron General Health & Wellness Center-North, despite several swimmers achieving personal records.
The Bulldog divers made a splash with key performances to score points for both the boys and girls teams.
“Kyle Minor on the boys side is showing great improvement, and our girls are getting better every meet,” head coach Dan Reese said.
Minor, a sophomore, placed third with a score of 89.85.
Sophomore Erika Delker continued to lead the way for the girl divers, finishing second with a score of 139.20. Also earning points for the team were senior Sierra Clark, who finished fourth with a score of 103.90; and sophomore Audrey Menke, who captured fifth place with a score of 98.85.
In the swimming competition, freshman Kevin Houk pulled ahead early in the 200-yard individual medley and never let anyone pass him.
Houk won the race with a time of 2 minutes, 23.99 seconds. The Bulldogs swept the top three places in the event, with junior Alex Cremer placing second (2:26.38 ) and sophomore Travis Delker finishing third (2:26.82 ).
From his spot in lane six, Houk wasn’t sure whether he was winning or losing until he touched the wall.
“I thought I was so far behind everyone else that I didn’t see them,” Houk said.
When he realized he won, he said, “I was like, `What?’”
The Bulldogs boys also swept first through third places in the 100 breaststroke, with Cremer taking first (1:10.91), senior Mike Hamilton placing second with a personal record time of 1:16.16 and Houk finishing third with a personal best 1:17.12..
Senior Cody Vantrease had another strong meet, taking first in both his individual events: the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
Reese said he also was pleased with the efforts by junior Corey Dyer, who won the 50 freestyle with a personal record of 24:90 and finished second in the 100 backstroke: and senior Justin Faloutico, who won the 100 freestyle (55:01) and placed second in the 50 freestyle with a personal best time of 24.93.
Several other swimmers had major improvements in their times, including sophomore Isaac Lumley, who dropped more than eight seconds from his previous personal best in the 100 backstroke to place fourth with a time 1:10.59, just behind teammate senior Caleb Studt (1:10.25). Junior Shane Riddle improved four seconds in the 200 freestyle to take fourth place.
For the girls, the foursome of senior Jenni Heid, junior Kelly Vantrease, junior Kelsey Wenk and senior Tori McCauley combined to capture first place in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:.46.88
Reese said the girls team had impressive individual performances by seniors McCauley, second in 50 freestyle (26.36) and 100 freestyle (57.07) ; Maddie Dyer, third in the 500 freestyle (5:42.09) and fourth in the 200 freestyle (2:09.40) behind third-place finisher Kelly Vantrease (2:07.42); Lindsey Adkins, fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:09.45) behind third-place swimmer Wenk (1:08.91); and Heid, second in the 100 breaststroke (1:15.11) and third in the 50 freestyle (26.47). Junior Erin Fenwick also has personal records in both her individual events to finish fourth in the 50 freestyle (27.01) and fifth in the 100 freestyle (1:01.88)
Sophomore Ashley Moats improved more than eight seconds from her previous best time in the 100 butterfly, while freshman Maddie Decheco dropped more than two seconds in the event.
The Bulldog swimmers also had several strong swims Dec. 14 at the Knight Invitational at the University of Toledo, even though the meet was cut short during finals because of a snowstorm.
“We had a lot of great races and many athletes were able to make finals at the meet,” Reese said.
Among the athletes qualifying for finals at the invitational were Corey Dyer, Travis Delker, Faloutico, Heid, Fenwick, McCauley, Wenk, junior Kirsten Earle and senior Ainsley Wilbur.
The team now is in the middle of grueling two-a-day practices over the winter break in preparation for the second half of the season and upcoming championship meets.
The Bulldog swimmers were scheduled to compete during the Wally Relays Dec. 28 at Cleveland State University. Results were unavailable at press time.
The next competition will be the Northeast Ohio Conference Championships Jan. 4 at CSU.
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