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Shawnee’s Crew focused on swimming gold

Kendra Crew’s last chance to bring state swimming gold back to Shawnee is tonight.

Crew is a three-time state finalist in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley and was runner-up in both events a year ago. She entered Thursday night’s preliminaries in Canton with the best 100 breaststroke district time in the state – not only in Division II in which she will compete, but she would also be the top seed in Division I.

“She’s ready to go,” Shawnee coach Jason Hill said. “She’s been preparing for this all season long. She’s very focused on these goals.”

Last year’s winner, Andrea Cottrell of Columbus Bishop Hartley, has the third-best seed time in the 100 breaststroke.

Crew, who owns five individual records at Shawnee and will swim at Kentucky, is seeded third in the 200 IM. Sarah Koucheki, a senior from Gates Mills Hawken, won the event last year and is seeded second.

Crew’s younger brother Justin is a sophomore swimming in his second state meet. Last year he placed 15th in the 500 freestyle, and he is seeded 13th this year. He missed the final in the 200 freestyle by one spot last year, but he comes in seeded 10th this year.

Justin Crew suffered a back injury in the fall and was out of the pool for about two months before he began his comeback at the start of the high school season in December.

“Ever since the Southwest District Classic in January he’s been getting faster and faster,” Hill said.

Catholic Central’s top qualifier is senior Jeff Ross, who is seeded fourth in the 100 butterfly and 10th in the 200 IM. Ross will race at state in the 100 fly for the fourth time.

Central sophomore Matt Pettit is seeded seventh in the 100 backstroke and 10th in the 50 freestyle. Pettit has also struggled with back problems until about a month ago.

“It’s good for him to have overcome that,” Miller said. “He looks to be really rounding into shape. He’s definitely capable of swimming faster.”

Also competing for Central is sophomore Ragen Engel in the 50 freestyle (seeded 10th) and the 100 breaststroke (15th). She will anchor Central’s 400 freestyle relay (20th) that includes sophomore Stephanie Lohnes, senior Amelia Samuelson and freshman Abigail Thompson. The four will also compete in the 200 medley (15th) anchored by Lohnes in the freestyle, following Samuelson (backstroke), Engel (breaststroke) and Thompson (butterfly).

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