STEUBENVILLE - Going swimming is not the first thing that comes to a person's mind on a day like today.
However, despite the inclement weather that has hit the local area, swimmers from all over the Ohio Valley will be participating in the 2013 OVAC Swimming Championship Meet which is scheduled to be held today starting at 12:10 p.m. down at the Steubenville High School Natatorium.
Due to the wintry weather, the start of the meet has been pushed back an hour from the originally scheduled start time of 11:10 a.m.
Beaver Local's Jason Lorah
The preliminary meets for the swimming championship were held Tuesday at Brooke, at Wheeling Park and at Linsly. The top 16 swimmers in each individual event advanced to today's meet. No relay races were held at the preliminary meets.
Locally, Beaver Local, East Liverpool and Edison all participated in the preliminary meet at Brooke.
"The kids cut their times," East Liverpool coach Tim Diddle said. "We like the OVAC Meet. There is real-good competition there, and it is two weeks before our sectional meet. It gives us a basis for where we are for the season, and it shows us what we need to improve on in the last two weeks to get where we need to get to and that is getting kids to the district meet."
The championship meet is broken in to two separate divisions for boys and girls. There is a big school and a small school division for both. The races are not broken up into divisions. All qualifiers will compete in the same races.
Beaver Local and Edison are in both big school divisions, while East Liverpool is split. The Potters are in the big school division in girls, and they are in the small school division for boys.
The East Liverpool boys will be hunt in the small school division.
"Linsly and St. Clairsville are probably at the top with Steubenville being third," Diddle said. "We swam down at Big Red this year, and the results had us losing 77-75, but there was a timing error and we ended up being tied at 76. I think it is a toss-up."
The Potters have also swum against the Red Devils, but not against the Cadets.
'We normally don't," Diddle said. "We already make a couple of trips down to Wheeling. We swim at Wheeling Park, and we are at the St. Clairsville Holiday Invitational at Wheeling Jesuit. We would have to make three trips down on a school night. That's a lot."
The East Liverpool girls have not won a meet yet this season. The Potters only have eight girls on the team making it hard for them to compete with the larger schools they compete against.
"Brooke is one of the top schools in the big division," Diddle said. "It's hard to judge because we won't see University, Morgantown and Parkersburg South until we get there.
"The OVAC meet always brings good competition. It is two weeks before our sectional meet.
"Brooke is good. Wheeling Park is always tough. Then you have University, Morgantown and Parkersburg South. I think those will be the top five.
"I think it all depends on how we swim.
"Beaver Local is a big school. They have some very-good swimmers.
"Some of the bigger schools, their relay teams bring in outstanding times. They have 'A' relay teams and 'B' relay teams. They have such large numbers that they can have two very-good relay teams. I think we have some very-good relay teams, but they don't stack up against those ones."
All told, 19 local swimmers finished in the top 16 in individual events to qualify for today's meet. Six swimmers qualified in two events. Four of the six are boys, and three of the six represent the Wildcats.
On the boys' side, East Liverpool senior Matt Campbell and freshman Ian Smith both qualified in two events.
Campbell qualified in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. Campbell finished first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.06, and he placed 12th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 57.60.
Smith qualified in the 200 IM and in the 100 backstroke. Smith placed 12th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:36.06, and he ended up ninth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:09.83.
On the girls' side, Beaver Local senior Laura Keenan also qualified in two individual events. Keenan, who was named The Review's Female Swimmer of the Year in 2012, qualified in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. Keenan finished sixth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:33.85, and she ended up third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:14.76.
Back to the boys' side, seven swimmers qualified for today's meet in one event.
Four of the seven are Beavers. They are Max Littleton, Troy Kotsch, Justin Maurer and Jason Lorah. Littleton qualified in the 200 freestyle. Kotsch qualified in the 50 freestyle. Maurer qualified in the 100 freestyle. Lorah qualified in the 100 breaststroke.
All four swimmers are seniors.
Littleton finished 13th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:19.92. Kotsch finished 15th in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.85. Maurer finished seventh in the 100 freestyle with a time of 55.64. Lorah placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:11.33.
Littleton just missed out on qualifying for today's meet in two individual events. Littleton finished 17th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:00.27.
For the Potters, Zech Harris, Stefan Yoho and Caleb Radcliffe all qualified in individual events. Harris, who is a junior, placed 16th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:53.75. Yoho, a senior, placed 12th in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.57. Radcliffe, who is a sophomore, finished 15th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:11.76.
Six local girls qualified in individual events. Four of the six are Wildcats, while two are Beavers.
Alexandra Crawford and Claire Meredith each qualified in individual events for the Beavers.
Crawford qualified in the 100 butterfly; meanwhile Meredith qualified in the 100 breaststroke. Crawford, a sophomore, finished 15th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:19.37. Meredith, who is a freshman, placed eighth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:18.62.
The cost for tickets to the meet is $6 for adults and $4 for students. OVAC passes will also be accepted at the door.
For information including results from the preliminary meets as well as the Pysch Sheet for the championship meet can be found out www.ovac.org.