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Bellbrook diver takes third at state meet

After finishing third in the Division II diving state championships on Wednesday, Bellbrook junior Hannah Collins will relax as a spectator today and cheer on her swimming teammates. Maybe next year she’ll join them.

Collins, described by coach Rob Johnson as one of the faster swimmers on the team, focused solely on her diving for the sectional, district and state meets. That helped her claim third place among the 16 divers who made up the final field in the 1-meter diving competition at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. Collins’ 11-dive score of 409.30 made her one of four divers in the 400-club, trailing two divers from Columbus and topping Alter freshman Claire Schuermann (408.20). Andrea Acquista of St. Francis DeSales — who competed in the women’s 10-meter synchronized platform diving exhibition event at the U.S. Olympic trials — won the state title with 419.25.

“She’s definitely pretty driven. She has some goals for herself,” Johnson said of Collins. “She’d like to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force so she’s looking to get into the Air Force Academy. She’s definitely got some drive.

“Last year she said she wanted to start swimming as well. Last year and this year I put her in a few swimming events,” added Johnson, noting Collins rarely practices her swimming events in favor of her diving. “Every once in a while you get a few kids who crossover, but for the most part it’s either swimming or diving and not both.”

Collins holds Bellbrook’s school record with her 433.25 performance at the district meet last week. She’s also a three-time state qualifier finishing seventh last year (despite being sick the night before the meet) and 13th as a freshman.

Bellbrook’s swimming hopefuls were in action Thursday evening with qualifying for both D-II boys and girls.The D-II finals are 5 p.m. Friday. D-I qualifying is 9 a.m. Friday with the finals 4 p.m. Saturday. The D-I diving is 9 a.m. Saturday.

Oakwood going for title: The Lumberjacks are among the favorites to win the D-II boys title. Among the team highlights, senior Cliff Goertemiller enters with the fastest qualifying time in the 500-yard freestyle and Oakwood has the top four times with junior Wending Zhu, junior Brock Turner and sophomore Jackson Higgins. Goertemiller is also ranked No. 1 in the 200 free and the Lumberjacks have four of the top six times overall. Sophomore Patrick Mulcare is ranked No. 1 in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. The 400 relay team holds the top time in its event and the 200 yard medley relay is second. The Jills are also anticipating a strong outing led by sophomore Sydney Lofquist, who qualified No. 1 in the 200 IM and No. 2 in the 500 free. The 200 medley and 400 free relay teams enter No. 2.

City League standout: Meadowdale senior Malique Elder qualified No. 2 in the 50 free and No. 4 in the 100 free. He’s the City League’s first male swimmer to qualify for state.

GWOC represented:Senior Josh Brooks leads Centerville into the D-I meet with the best time in the 200 IM. The 400 relay is No. 2. Also among GWOC swimmers, Beavercreek junior Henrik Pohlmann is ranked No. 1 in the 100 backstroke, Xenia senior Andrew Cole is No. 4 in the 100 butterfly and Butler freshman Tommy Cope is No. 4 in the 200 free in the boys meet. For the girls, Springboro freshman Hannah Whitelely posted the fastest time in the 100 backstroke and the second best in the 50 free. Freshman teammate Marianne Kahmann is No. 2 in the 100 backstroke. Troy sophomore Michelle Zelnick is No. 4 in the 200 IM.

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