The college will hoist the team title on Feb. 17 after the Division II Cleveland State District. (Chris Lillstrung – The News-Herald)
The non-slip surface of the podium spot at Cleveland State University’s Busby National Park has been replaced in recent years due to wear and tear.
On February 17, in the Division II CSU district, the university played a role in hastening the need for a new layer sooner or later.
The US stormed out with 540 points and was in electric form to take home the district team crown.
The preppers won Jack Faulkner’s sprint freestyle individual double, Ben Davis (200 individual medley), Ian Sullivan (100 butterfly), Aiden Owens (100 breaststroke) individual titles and a relay sweep.
Aiming for their eighth state team championship since 2009, Hunting Valley’s juggernaut is no doubt on tour to imminently add another banner to the walls of Weatherhead Natatorium.
“That was the whole message, just being trapped,” Faulkner said. “That was the exact word we used. For the first time all season, shaved, tapered and suiting. Just rested and ready to go. I really wanted to win today.”
“What I can say with confidence is that everyone played great. Everyone dropped their time in the event.”
Faulkner has done his part if the refrain is to be trapped.
The seniors scored 50 frees in a time of 20.87 seconds and 100 frees in 46.65 seconds. Compared to when she was 7th at her D-II State meet a year ago, her staggering score of under 21 seconds for 50 yards equates to a 0.65 cut.
“That’s been my goal for a while,” Faulkner said of going sub-21 in the 50s. This year is the result of working on the start. I feel like my ratchet time was slow last year. So I worked on my breakout and tried to improve it and I feel it helped a lot. ”
Andrews Osborne’s Krys Gorski dialed in as well, recording an individual double in the 200 free and his trademark 100 backstroke. Ohio’s recent verbal promise had a dominant and smooth underwater with 49.56 on his way to 100. Notably, with an opening 50 of 24.06, he finished 6th in Canton in 2022. 0.80 drop from when it was
“I was really happy,” Gorski said. “I know I can push a bit more in the first 25, so I’m really excited to have two more shots in Canton. It’s a tough hurdle, you can’t kick it out too fast, but I know I can, so I’m definitely going to push a little more in those waters and play a little less safe.
“So if we can experiment with them and push them a bit more and drop a few tenths off, hopefully the times will be a little bit faster. I’m really excited.”
On the girls’ side, Hawken made another swing to fend off non-area powerhouse Hathaway Brown in the team race. The Hawks got a little closer this week than they did in their section with the Blazers, with him scoring 442 points to his 463 points in HB and doing an outstanding job in the 500 free to win the individual title from Sarah Popal.
They are confident their best swing will be applied as they take another stand to defend ‘The Streak’, the 24th consecutive state team championship in Canton next week.
“Honestly, we joined the swim team just for fun,” said Popal. “As a team, we are here to participate in team sports and to do what we love. We want to swim for the best time and do the best we can. Come and do it, and when you do, you will never be disappointed.
“We look forward to having fun there. ‘The Streak’ takes care of itself.” We focus on what we can control. We cannot control others. But we can control us. As long as we are doing what we are supposed to do, we are confident that we can do it. ”
Popal’s 500 free wins set a record of 4:56.32 and boosted optimism from the district. This is his significant 4.27 cut from when the outstanding junior was his fifth in the state the year before. In a hard-fought battle with Blazers’ Meredith Stewart, Popal held control in his 50s in his seventh and his eighth with a stretch of 29.72 and 29.98 to give him the lead. Expanded for more than 2 seconds.
“I’m really confident,” said Popal, who was second in the 200 Free (1:52.51). “It’s nice to be able to swim that fast. I’m not supertapered right now, so it feels really good to be able to do it. I’m looking forward to the condition and hope to have another drop there.”
This winter, the Hawken Girls have completed 15 Top 5 finishes and 203 Top 5 finishes in regional competitions since 1999.
Gilmour’s Raina Collis won the gold medal in 100 free swims with a 52.14. 29 improvement from the district in 2022 and a .93 improvement over the state, and in 2:06.95 she trails her third in the 200 IM.
“I hope I can get some rest,” Collis said. “On the Vikings, I was 51, so I added a second. I can. That’s what I want.”
Other news at CSU Herald’s coverage area auto-qualifiers include Beachwood’s Boys 200 Medley Relay (2nd) and Evan Warner (2nd, 50 free), Hawken’s Chloe Bautista (2nd, 100 fly), Nina Newton (2nd, 100 free), was Asma Khan. (2nd, 100 back) and 3 Women’s Relays (2nd), USA’s Miguel Figueroa (3rd, 200 Free, 2nd, 100 Free), Owens (2nd, 200 IM), Alex Pesek (2nd) , 100 fly, 3rd, 100 free) back) and Davis (3rd, 500 free), Ben Broz of Chagrin Falls (3rd, 200 IM), Nathan Bender of Chardon (2nd, 500 free), Maddie of Gilmore Samat (3rd, 100 Breasts).