COLUMBUS -Two plus two equals four.
Beaver Local's Andrew Rice and Edison's Shelbi Marquis each qualified for this weekend's Ohio Division II Central District Tournament at Ohio State University with strong showings at Saturday's sectional meet at the Steubenville High School Natatorium.
"The competition was very good," East Liverpool boys' head coach Tim Diddle said about the sectional meet. "When you bring in schools like Tri-Valley, Dover and New Philadelphia teams we hardly ever see the competition is great, and it is great for our kids to be able to swim against that competition here. At OVACs, we have the West Virginia teams we get to swim against. It's just a good two days with sectionals and OVACs."
Edison’s Kylie Smith dives into the pool during the 200 freestyle relay during the Ohio Division II sectional swim meet Saturday at the Steubenville High School Natatorium. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
East Liverpool girls' head coach Pam Dawson said there were a lot of faster swimmers at the sectional meet.
"Actually, this competition was fast, really fast compared to last year," she said. "I was looking at finishing times from last year as opposed to this year, these girls are fast. We have got some really good swimmers in this area."
Rice qualified in two individual events as well as a part of two relay teams to lead the way for the Beavers. Individually, Rice qualified with the sixth best time in the 50 freestyle (23.5) and with the 12th best time in the 100 freestyle (52.83). Rice was also a key part of the Beavers' 200 freetyle and 400 freestyle teams. Sam Frank, Justin Maurer and Nathan Lorah joined Rice on the 200 freestyle team, and the foursome qualified with the 12th best time (1:40.06). Rice and Maurer were joined by Jason Lorah and Nathan Lorah on the 400 freestyle relay team. The foursome qualified with the 10th best time (3:47.31).
Marquis qualified in one individual event as well as apart of three relay teams to lead the way for the Wildcats. Individually, she qualified with the 25th best time in the backstroke (1:13.54.) She was also a key part of all three qualifying relay teams. She was joined on the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle relays by Kylie Smith, Jenna Belli and Andrea Artman. The foursome qualified 12th in the 200 medley relay (2:08.8), and they qualified 18th in the 200 freestyle relay (1:57.71). Marquis, Artman and Belli were joined on the 400 freestyle relay by Victoria Freeland. The foursome qualified with the 16th best time of 4:26.41.
Nathan Lorah and Maurer joined Rice as qualifiers in individual events.
Lorah qualified with the 16th best time in the 200 freestyle (2:03.27), and he has the 15th best time in the 500 freestyle (5:39.75). Maurer qualified with the 15th best time in the 200 individual medley (2:21.64.)
Smith joined Marquis as an individual qualifier. Smith qualified 17th in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.37).
No Edison boys qualified for the district meet.
Beaver Local's Laura Keenan qualified in two individual events and as a member of one relay team. Individually, Keenan qualified with the 15th best time in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.98), and she has the 30th best time in the 100 freestyle (1:02.37). Keenan is joined on the 200 medley relay team by Brooke Turner, Alex Crawford and Alissa Hissam. The team qualified with the 29th best time of 2:22.78.
Hissam, Crawford and Turner were joined by Miranda Turkovich on the 400 freestyle team. The foursome qualified with the 29th best time of 5:09.75.
Four boys and four girls qualified for East Liverpool. The Potters qualified in all three relay races on the boys' and girls' sides.
"The season has gone well," Diddle said. "Every meet, we want to improve, getting us to this level for today to take us to districts. Some things, we didn't get to work on all of the things we wanted to this year. That was because of the coaching thing to start with. Coach Dawson and I weren't originally going to be coaching. They were going to have somebody else, and that fell through, so we came back for another year.
"We started building kind of late in the season it was like three weeks into it so we didn't get as much dry land core work on the body to start with. As the season went on, we got all of that in, and I think everybody did well."
For the boys, Zech Harris, Stephan Yoho, Matt Campbell and Tommy Mohney qualified with the 22 best time in the 400 freestyle relay (4:13.8), the 24th best time in the 200 medley relay (2:04.13) and the 26th best time in the 200 freestyle relay (1:47.87).
For the girls, Alissa Gill, Emily Kotfis, Kelsey Diddle and Kyra Gill qualified with the 24th best time in the 400 freestyle relay (4:49.16), the 26th best time in the 200 medley relay (2:21.30 and with the 30th best time in the 200 freestyle relay (2:06.53).
"It has gone well," Dawson said about her team's season. "It is a long season. We have another week left. We will practice relays Monday, Tuesday and get ready for Ohio State I hope."
The Beavers, Potters and Wildcats all have plenty of experience swimming at Big Red.
"It helps in the essence that the kids are familiar with it, with the touch pads, because sometimes they tend to slide up," Diddle said. "They are familiar with the pool. We usually swim here three times a year. We swim Steubenville and then OVACs and then sectionals.
"It does have an advantage, and it helps the kids' familiarity with the pool."
Dawson said the familiarity helped her swimmers at the sectional meet.
"Yeah, definitely it does help," she said. "We swam most of these teams before we got here today, and yeah, it helps a lot."
"I wish we had a bigger pool to practice in at home. That is my goal, to get a pool at home that is an Olympic size swimming pool. That would be terrific. It would be nice to have this facility up in East Liverpool, but the Y is nice too. It is a good place to practice."
Several of the swimmers lowered their times at the sectional meet, and they will be looking to do the same at the district meet.
"Yeah, they cut their times," Dawson said. "They did well."
The top three in each individual and relay event at the district meet qualifies for the state meet starting with the diving competition Wednesday in Canton.
"I just think it has been a great season so far," Diddle said. "Hopefully, we get to continue on to districts and set more school records."
Dawson said she is proud of the way her girls have performed at the sectional meet, and she is also expecting them to perform well at the district meet.
"They did well," she said. "I'm proud of them. We will just keep on moving forward."