SPRINGFIELD — Catholic Central High School junior Jeff Ross has worked hundreds of hours and swam thousands of yards for one precious second.
A year ago at the Division II district swim meet, Ross finished the 100-yard butterfly in 52.8 seconds. That’s nearly as fast as he or anyone in Ohio high school swimming can go. The all-divisions state record in the event is less than 6 seconds faster — not much time in the real world, but an eternity in the pool.
Ross would like to improve his time by 1 second today at the district meet at Miami University in Oxford. He expects he would qualify for the state meet for the third time in three years with that time.
He finished 16th in the 100 butterfly at the state meet in Canton as a freshman and 10th last year. He wants to place in the top eight this season.
First he has to get past the district meet.
“I’m a little bit faster than where I was last year at this time,” Ross said. “It seems like everyone on the team is smashing their times from last year. I’m predicting everyone on SPY (Springfield’s YMCA swim team) is going to have a really great district meet.”
Ross won a sectional title in the 100 butterfly last weekend (53.3 seconds) and placed third in the 200 individual medley (2:06.8).
He’s seeded fifth and seventh, respectively, in those events at the district meet, and he will have plenty of company, because all five of the Catholic Central boys swimmers will swim today.
The Irish finished fifth as a team at the sectional, despite those low numbers.
Senior Chip Samuelson is seeded first in the 50 freestyle (22.3) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.4). Freshman Matt Pettit is seeded fourth in the 100 free (50.3) and third in the 100 backstroke (55.3).
Central’s 200 freestyle relay has the eighth seed (1:345.86), and its 200 medley relay is seeded third (1:43.37). Sophomore Chip Setterfield and freshman Ian Collins are the other relay members.
Like Ross, Samuelson has goals beyond the district meet. He finished eighth in the 50 freestyle and 11th in the 100 freestyle at state last year.
He switched from the 100 freestyle to the 100 breaststroke this year, but hopes to finish in the top eight in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke at state this year.
Samuelson won the 50 free and placed second in the 100 breaststroke at the sectional last week, even though he had been suffering from pneumonia for two weeks. He missed an entire week of practice and was limited to hour practices for another week.
“I’m feeling better, but it’s still a little bit there,” he said Monday. “Honestly, it was all mental (at the sectional). I was just trying to get through it.”
at Miami University
Today: Division I boys, 10:45 a.m.; Division II boys, 5:45 p.m.
Saturday: Division II girls, 10:45 a.m.; Division I girls, 5:45 p.m.
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