Kenton Ridge’s Blazer ‘thrilled’ to win school’s first individual state swim title

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

CANTON — Evan Blazer saved his best time for his last high school swim meet.

And made history.

The Kenton Ridge High School senior won the school’s first-ever individual state title, claiming the 50-yard freestyle in a personal-best time of 20.45 seconds at the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Division II Swimming & Diving State Championships on Friday night at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.

“I’m thrilled,” Blazer said. “I’m proud to represent my school and my community.”

The championship race was “exhilarating,” said Cougars coach Heather Shaffer.

“He was actually losing at the turn,” she said, “and he just came back and he had a super powerful stroke and won by quite a bit considering it was a (50-yard race).”

At the turn, Blazer could see runner-up Mason Francis of Vincent Warren in his peripheral vision and knew he had to pick up the pace.

“I know how I swim and I don’t always have the best start off the block,” he said. “Usually my second 25 (yards) is a little bit stronger. I figured if I can be even at the halfway point, I could get it done on the second 25 (yards). I still had confidence even though I was a little behind.”

It was the culmination of four years of hard work. He was focused on winning a state championship all season.

“I was very relieved when I finished,” Blazer said. “I felt like I had been swimming really well in that event all year long leading up to (the state meet), so I had a lot of confidence. I knew I had put the work in and that it was just a matter of doing it. Luckily, I had a good day and it all came together tonight. It was great.”

The Ohio State University commit also placed runner-up in the 100 free in another personal-best time of 45.19, barely missing out on a second state title. Dover senior Lucas Lane won the event in 45.12.

“He had it right until the very end and (Lane) out-touched him,” Shaffer said.

Kenton Ridge senior Chase Fyffe placed fourth in the 100 fly in 50.83. The Youngstown State University commit also placed 11th in the 100 back in 52.86.

“It was definitely a great night,” Shaffer said.

Blazer and Fyffe were both members of the Cougars’ 200 free relay team that won the school’s first state championship in 2021.

Catholic Central senior Will Baron placed 16th in the 50 free in 22.30.

KR sophomore Jayleigh Brown placed 26th in the 50 free in 24.97. KR’s 200 free relay team of Jayleigh Brown, Ryleigh Brown, Alyssa Shaffer and Brooke DeHart placed 18th in a time of 1:41.93.

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