It’s a message the Lakota East and Lakota West swimmers have heard often the past few weeks, but it serves as a reminder to all those competing today and Saturday at the district meet: Go fast or go home.
As Lakota East and West coach Dennis Beck tells his swimmers it doesn’t always matter where you qualified coming out of sectionals, it only matters that you did.
“Kids need to show up ready to swim,” Beck said of the tough competition. “I tell our athletes we’ve had kids in the second heat qualify for state. Hopefully we’ll have some surprises (this year) as well.”
The Thunderhawks and Firebirds have a few best bets, too. West senior and Miami University recruit Bryan McNamara enters the Division I district meet with the second-fastest time in the 500-yard freestyle and third-fastest in the 200 free. East sophomore Matt McDonald is ranked No. 3 in the 200 individual medley and No. 5 in the 500 free. On the girls side, West junior Casey Frazier and senior Savannah Rice have the fourth- and ninth-best times, respectively, in the 100 breaststroke.
“I think there’s always a friendly camaraderie between our two schools,” Beck said of the interaction between East and West. “I think they have pride in themselves and pride in their own team, but I also know they pull for each other if they’re swimming against someone (from another school).”
The top two swimmers from each event at the four district meets qualify for the state championships. The next 16 fastest times overall from the state’s four district meets advance as at-large qualifiers.
Divers advance: The D-I and D-II divers had their district meets earlier this week. Mason’s Sean Sargent and Madeline Sewell swept the D-I meet. Alter’s Trent Hagenbuch and Claire Schuermann swept the D-II meet.
Oakwood advantage: The Lumberjacks enter as favorites to win the 200 free and 500 free. They hold the top four times in the 500, with Cliff Goertemiller setting the pace followed by Brock Turner, Jackson Higgins and Wending Zhu. The same four swimmers hold four of the top five spots in the 200 with top-ranked Goertemiller, No. 2 Turner, No. 3 Zhu and No. 5 Higgins. Oakwood’s girls are ranked Nos. 1-3 in the 500 with Sydney Lofquist, Anna Lynch and Cassidy Fry.
Best of class: St. Xavier’s boys are the team to beat in D-I, but they aren’t the favorites in every event. Beavercreek’s Henrik Pohlman (100 backstroke), Talawanda’s Scott Richmond (100 breaststroke) and Centerville’s Josh Brooks (200 IM) have the fastest qualifying times in their events.
Kendra and Co.: Based on times, Springfield’s best chances at a district title come with Shawnee’s Kendra Crew and Catholic Central’s Ragen Engel in D-II. Crew has the top time in the 100 breast and second-best time in the 200 IM. Engel is No. 2 in the 50 free.
All meets at Miami University: D-II boys, 10:45 a.m. today; D-I boys, 5:45 p.m. today; D-II girls, 10:45 a.m. Saturday; D-I girls, 5:45 p.m. Saturday.