CANTON: They renewed acquaintances, chatted and shared a few laughs.
Then it was down to business in the pool Saturday for Firestone junior Mark Belanger, Cuyahoga Falls junior Andrew Appleby and Hudson senior Jimmy Dagley.
The area trio competed in two individual events against one another in the Division I boys state swimming meet at C.T. Branin Natatorium.
Belanger had the highest place, finishing second in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 46.18 seconds behind Toledo St. Francis de Sales senior Dan DiSalle, who won the title in 45.58 seconds.
“I was pretty confident when I got on the starting blocks,” Belanger said. “I saw DiSalle went off fast, so I knew I had to put my head down and swim as fast I could. I just tried to touch my hand on the wall before anybody else. First place would have been awesome, but I’m happy with second.”
Appleby finished third in the 100 freestyle in 46.30 seconds and Dagley took fifth in 46.54 seconds.
“My 100 free was good,” Appleby said. “I listened to my coaches and I went after it. I was really happy with third place behind Dan DiSalle and Mark Belanger.”
Appleby took fifth in the 100 backstroke in 50.89, just ahead of Belanger in sixth at 51.32 seconds and Dagley in seventh at 51.64 seconds.
“I think I need to relax more,” Appleby said after his second state experience. “Last year, I was freaking out a little bit. This year, I was a little more calm and composed. This is a great experience to swim here. This is my favorite meet.”
Firestone coach Cindy Virdo said Belanger’s times in both events were lifetime bests.
“The crowd is amazing,” Belanger said. “This is not like any other experience. The crowd is roaring and it gets you so pumped up. It’s a huge adrenaline rush.”
North Canton Hoover also had a standout performance in the 200 freestyle relay, capturing second in a time of 1:24.77. Cincinnati St. Xavier was declared the relay winner in 1:24.75 after St. Francis De Sales finished first but was disqualified because its fourth swimmer jumped off the block too early.
Vikings seniors Thomas Tedrow and Mitch Alters took part in the relay along with junior Brian Giannetti and sophomore Stephen Watson.
Hoover also finished fifth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:07.93) with Alters, Tedrow and Giannetti teaming up with junior Robert Tolson.
Individually, Alters was eighth in the 200 freestyle (1:44.15) and 100 butterfly (51.59 seconds).
Hudson freshman Ross Pa-lazzo finished sixth in the 100 breast stroke in 58.09 seconds.
The Explorers finished fifth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:25.23) and seventh in the 200 medley relay.
Dagley, Palazzo, senior Adam Motter and freshman Brendon Mulcahey made up the 200 freestyle relay. Pa-lazzo, Motter and Mulcahey combined with junior Ryan Hutcheson in the 200 medley relay.
Cincinnati St. Xavier won its 33rd Division I team state title, and 13th out of the past 14, with 297.5 points.
Hudson was sixth in the team standings with 125 points, Hoover placed 10th with 86 points and Firestone was 16th win 32 points.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.