CLEVELAND — The top of the podium at Cleveland State University’s Busbey Natatorium featured several North Canton Hoover, Brecksville and Hudson swimmers on Saturday.
Whether it was girls or boys, the Vikings, Bees and Explorers were well represented in the Division I district meets that automatically qualified the top two in each event for the state meet this week at Canton’s C.T. Branin Natatorium.
Hoover won the boys team title with 270 points and Brecksville was second with 266 points. Hudson (213), Solon (190) and Jackson (170) rounded out the top five teams.
“That was pure determination from our guys,” Hoover coach Mark Rogers said. “We have fast kids and they have been working really hard all year. Today they walked in and one of the kids said, ‘I think we might be able to win this.’ And then they decided, 'Well, we are going to win this.' ”
Hoover opened the afternoon with a meet-record time of 1:30.59 in the 200-yard medley relay with junior Christopher O’Connor, sophomore Karl Helmuth and seniors William Schneider and Vincent Stevens.
The Vikings also set a meet record in the 200 freestyle (1:23.21) with Schneider, Helmuth, sophomore Mack Lochridge and Stevens; and were first in the final event — the 400 freestyle relay (3:06.98) — with Schneider, freshman TJ Bragg, O’Connor and Lochridge.
“This was a really exciting day and I am looking forward to next week,” O’Connor said. “I am ecstatic and I can’t wait to see how the Cincinnati schools come up. We are looking forward to competing against those guys.”
Additionally, Stevens won the 50 freestyle in 20.61 and O’Connor won the 100 backstroke in a meet record 49.06.
“I am really happy for our guys,” said Stevens, an Ashland University recruit. “On the bus we were like, ‘We can do this.’ And we came and conquered.”
Walsh Jesuit junior Kaden Smesko took second in the 100 backstroke in 50.30.
Hudson senior Jay Johnson won the 200 freestyle in a meet record of 1:39.18 and also touched the wall first in the 100 freestyle in 45.18.
“I am not fully tapered, but I am really happy with where I am at,” said Johnson, the defending state champion in the 100 freestyle and an Ohio State University recruit.
“Those times are really what I was hoping for. I am really excited for next week. I think part of the reason that I was able to go the times I went today is because my teammates really got us all hyped up from the very beginning.”
Hudson junior Caleb Tuckerman contributed a victory in the 500 freestyle in 4:35.89.
“That was the fastest 200 I have ever taken out in a 500,” Tuckerman said.
Said Hudson coach Matt Davis: “Jay did what he needed to do in his two individual events, and next week he is going to be better. Caleb had a couple of huge swims and Seth Baylor swam out of his mind, not only on the relays, but also in individual races.”
Elsewhere in the meet, Brecksville senior Eric Chimes won the 200 individual medley in 1:52.73, Twinsburg senior Colin Martin placed first in the 100 butterfly in 48.79 and was second in the 100 freestyle in 46.0, and Brecksville junior Pete Krusinski won the 100 breaststroke in 55.62.
“Eric and Pete are veteran swimmers,” Brecksville coach Mark Krusinski said. “They are our top line swimmers, so we didn’t totally rest them. We were kind of unsure how they were going to swim, but they really swam well and are hoping to swim faster next week.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.