There's just some kind of feeling about diving in the water at Canton McKinley's Branin Natatorium, knowing that the fastest swimmers in Ohio high school history have claimed state titles in that pool.
Solon and Kenston swimmers got a refreshing taste of that end-of-the-season aspiration, when they competed there on Saturday in the 11th Christmas Invitational.
Swimmers from 40-some teams competed, including the top-three Division I girls contenders from last year – Cincinnati Ursuline, Upper Arlington and Mason.
Advancing to the state swimming and diving championships at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton is an accomplishment in itself, but scoring points is a whole other level of awesomeness.
The top 24 swimmers and divers in each event across Ohio's two divisions get a chance to compete among the best of the best, when 2,500 fans roar in the stands and coaches, officials, timers and media personnel get a ground-level show on deck.
The Solon girls swim team again defended its sectional crown, obliterating Saturday's Division I competition at Spire Institute in Geneva and advancing 11 torpedoes and three divers to this weekend's district competition.
Winning all three relays and two individual events, the Lady Comets captured the team title with 477 points to best runner-up Mayfield, 284 points, third-place Shaker Heights, 280 points, fourth-place Kenston, 218 points, and the rest of the 16-team field.
The Lady Bombers were able to advance five swimmers and two divers to the 48-team Division I Northeast District meet, which will host its championships at 10 a.m. Saturday at Cleveland State University's Busbey Natatorium. The top two swimmers in each event will automatically qualify for the state competition, while 16 at-large bids throughout Ohio will advance based on time.
Among the sea of Hawken during the Chagrin Valley Conference meet, one News-Herald area swimmer without an ‘H' on their swim cap broke through for a pair of top-two individual finishes.
Kenston junior Kayla Korenowski was second in both sprint freestyle events Saturday, recording a time of 25.45 seconds for CVC runner-up honors in the 50 free and a 55.71 in the 100 free. Considering the Hawks took 12 of 16 top twos in individual events on the girls side, Korenowski's afternoon was a nice distinction before the road to Canton begins.
"We're completely pleased," Bombers coach Amanda Boswell said. "She has done awesome this season. We just can't wait to see what she continues to do in the postseason."
This Saturday, December 21, some of our swimmers and divers are headed to Canton for a very long day of competition. They are headed to the Canton City Schools 10th Annual Christmas Invitational. Athletes come from all over the state to compete against the best in Ohio at what also happens to be the location of the state meet held in February. The meet starts at 8:00 am when everyone competes in the preliminaries. The top 24 in each event then get to swim again in the finals session held in the evening. To be able to take part in this meet, swimmers must have qualified over the past year by swimming a fast enough qualifying time. We have eight swimmers who have earned the chance to swim in individual events and six that will swim in relays. Qualifying individually are Kayla Korenowski (100 Free, 100 Back), Halle D’Amico (200 IM, 100 Fly), Sophie Kocheff (200 & 500 Free), Sarah Newcomb (50 & 100 Free), Mike Jeromin (200 IM, 100 Back), Chaz Manocchio, Andrew Nichols and Josh Shahidian (all in the 50 &100 Free). Also swimming with relays are Anna Huff, Erica Abbarno, Brad Toth, Johnny Coming, Victor Vitale and Max Koch. The divers who will be competing include: Maddie Sand, Sydney Braverman, Tiffani Mattson, Maggie Krause, Isaac Cooper and Rhys Robbins. Good luck to our swimmers and divers as they travel to Canton for this exciting invitational!
The Orange girls swim team cruised, while the Kenston boys inched out a victory during a dual meet between the two schools last Thursday at the Lions' pool in Pepper Pike.
Winning eight of the 12 events, the Lady Lions defeated Kenston, 112-74, to remain perfect this season in head-to-head matchups.
The Bombers, meanwhile, won the boys competition, 92-88, thanks to a triumphant 400 freestyle relay – the last event of the evening.