Alex and Taylor competed for Loveland High School at the Ohio High School State meet this last weekend. The final meet of the high school season arrived with Alex going for her 3rd time, but 1st ever individual competition. Not just one, but two individual event plus two relays for the maximum four events. For Taylor it was her first trip being a freshman. It was quite an accomplishment for her to make it in one individual event plus two relays. Ohio has some of the most competitive high school swimming in the country, so these are significant accomplishments.

Loveland High School State Team- Alex, Taylor, Sammie, Dani, Hailey, Liz, Terra

State is a little different than the rest of the meets during the season. For one thing it is in Canton, OH (just south of Cleveland), which is a three and a half hour drive. Also, it is a two day event. This means the team travels together and stays in a hotel. The meet was Friday (prelims) and Saturday (finals). They left from school about 11am on Thursday as a group. The early departure is so they can get up to Canton and get in some practice time in the pool the will be competing in over the weekend.

Another thing that is different is the format.  All of the prelim swims are done on Friday and then all of the finals are on Saturday. Plus this year the Division 1 swimmers swam in the morning, so they swam prelims and finals sessions starting at 9am.  As Alex said, it was weird to be doing finals in the morning.

Friday – Prelims

200 Medley Relay Prelims-

The first event was the 200 Medley Relay.  Coach Dan switched things up from how he was swimming the relays at Sectionals and Districts, so Alex was now swimming the 200 Medley Relay as the anchor swimming Freestyle. Alex went in with a cluster of the teams fighting for 4th -7th.  She managed to catch and pass the girl next to her who had a decent lead when she entered, which placed them 4th in their heat and 11th overall in prelims to qualify for finals.  The scoreboard malfunctioned, so we had to wait to get the results and no splits were captured.

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100 Fly Prelims-

Taylor was our next swim in the 100 Fly.  She came into the meet seeded 19th, so she was swimming in the first heat.  At districts she swam a 1:00.87, which was her best of the high school season, but slower than her PB time of 59.86.  She definitely looked a little nervous and she had said she was on her facebook page. Well, she went out and swam a Personal Best time and earned a trip to FINALS with a 58.97.  She took the last spot by beating the 17th place person by 3/100ths of a second!

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100 Freestyle Prelims-

Alex was up next in the 100 Free.  This was definitely the big surprise event for her to make State in, since she wasn’t even close to the time that was needed going into this season (or even during the season). She brought it on big time in Sectionals and Districts to show she was a contender in this event coming in to State seeded 15th.  At the 50 yard mark it was close all the way across the pool. The 2nd 50 saw the top 4 or 5 pull away a little bit.  Alex came in 4th in her heat with a 53.30 which was good enough to qualify her for FINALS seeded 14th.

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Here's an example of Alex's quick reaction time as you can see she is almost completely off the blocks ahead of the other girls and already in her streamline.

200 Free Relay Prelims-

The Loveland team came in seeded 14th in this event, but Coach Dan switched up the relay in order to make this one stronger.  It proved to be a good move. Alex led off with a 24.86 split. Before this season she had never gone under 25 seconds in a 50, so this was a solid start.  Taylor swam the 3rd leg in a PB 25.14. That was good enough to hold them in 5th and close to the other teams.  Sammie had a great swim to move the team up to 3rd in the heat and earn a Champ Finals qualification at 8th in prelims. Their 1:39.72 was a NEW Loveland School record.

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100 Back Prelims-

Alex came into this event seeded 15th after her PB swim at Districts of 59.23.  This swim was awesome for two reasons: she finally got under 59 by swimming a Personal Best 58.97 and she tied the girl in the lane next to her. You see them talk about it afterward if you watch the video.

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400 Free Relay Prelims-

The last event was the 400 Freestyle Relay.  As mentioned earlier Coach Dan had shuffled the relay line ups a little.  This is true with this relay. By moving Alex to the 200 Medley Relay he shifted our fastest 100 Freestyler off the relay and moved on the alternate.  The new line up virtually guaranteed this relay would not make finals.  Well, it all was rendered moot when the relay was DQ’d.  Our lead off swimmer false started.

All in all Prelims were a success with both girls qualifying for finals in both individual and relay events. Both swam new Personal Best times and were part of a Loveland High School record setting relay. Plus they both were guaranteed to trip to the awards podium as part of the 200 Free Relay with the Champ Finals qualifying swim.  Considering last year none of the relays made it to finals this was a huge step up.

Saturday – Finals

This is finals and the level of competition heats up even in the crowd.  While it isn’t pretty we did have our die hard fans show their spirit.

200 Medley Relay Finals-

The order of events is always the same so 1st up was the 200 Medley Relay. The relay came in seeded 11th. Alex swimming the freestyle anchor leg with a 24.35 split which is a Personal Best. Their overall time of 1:50.51 was good enough for a 12th place finish.

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100 Fly Finals-

So our little freshman was swimming in her 1st state meet in her 1st individual event in finals! She swam a 59.29 for the 2nd fastest swim of her life (the 1st being her prelim swim) which put her 14th overall!

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Taylor (top of picture) is quick off the block, too.

100 Freestyle Finals-

Alex continued to swim this event strong with another time in the 53’s- 53.60. I don’t think she was completely satisfied with the swim, but it was good enough for 15th overall at State in an event that I don’t think anybody (including herself) would have anticipated she would even make it to State in.  There is some footage at the end of the video of her chatting with Coach Dan.

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200 Free Relay Finals-

The Loveland team came in seeded 8th in this event. Alex led off with a 24.82 split- slightly faster than her pr.  Taylor swam the 3rd leg in a PB 24.92 her 1st sub 25 split! Hailey swam a little than faster than prelims, too.  Sammie had a great swim going 23.88! All that combined for a 1:38.86 – NEW Loveland School record breaking the record they had set in prelims by nearly a second and a trip to the awards podium as the 6th place team. Video includes their trip to podium and receiving the medals from their Gold Medalist coach Dan Ketchum.  Awesome!

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Loveland girls receive their medals for 6th place finish.

100 Back Finals-

Alex came into finals tied for the 10th seed her PB swim of 58.97.  She swam a 59.71 and was looking a little gassed after two very competitive swim days.  Still she finished 15th overall which is where she was seeded coming out of Districts.

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Afterward the meet was over we all met at Red Robin for one last team activity before driving back to Loveland from Canton.  Everybody had a great time celebrating the success of the team. The boys did awesome and finished 7th overall in the team standings with the girl’s team finishing 14th overall. We took some group photos outside. Here is the record setting 200 Free Relay team.

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