Columbus School for Girls sophomore Rachel Politi couldn't help but daydream about winning a state title in the 100-yard butterfly as she prepared to compete this week in the Division II state swimming and diving meet.
After all, Politi placed third in the event last year behind Gates Mills Hawken senior and three-time defending state champion Sarah Koucheki. Politi finished in a team-record 56.26 seconds and Koucheki set a Division II state record of 54.66.
Politi is seeded sixth at state after winning her second consecutive district title in the 100 fly (56.56) on Feb. 15 at Ohio State.
She said she will feel satisfied as long as she swims to her potential. The state meet began Feb. 20 with diving and concludes Friday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
"Of course everyone dreams of winning state, but I have no control over how everyone else will swim, so I'm just going to try my hardest to race to the best of my ability," said Politi, whose squad scored 270 points at district to place third behind Granville (457) and Columbus Academy (333) as 36 teams scored. "My first and foremost goal is to better my fastest time. If that means that I'll contend for a top spot that would be great. But if I were to drop two seconds from my best time and finish fifth, I will still be happy.
"Hopefully, I can continue on the track of dropping time and finish somewhere in the top three again. As long as I try my hardest and do as well as my body is able to do at state, I can't be disappointed."
Politi also is seeded fifth for state in the 200 freestyle after placing second (1:52.76) at district behind Granville's Sydney King (1:51.3).
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to the state meet. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide. The top three girls divers at district advanced to state.
Last year, Politi finished eighth in the 100 backstroke (58.24) at state.
"I decided to try the 200 free this year instead of the 100 back because I dropped a lot of time in the 200 free and I wanted to keep things fresh," Politi said.
Freshman Gabrielle Eismann placed second in the 50 free (24.54) behind Academy's Anya Kone' (24.33) to qualify for state. She is seeded 18th.
Eismann also combined with Kirby Boes, Politi and Erin Balasky to place third in the 200 medley relay (1:50.61), teamed with Keiko Wilkins, Erin Smith and Politi to finish third in the 400 free relay (3:42.39) and combined with Balasky, Erin Smith and Eleanor Smith to place third in the 200 free relay (1:41.45). All three relays qualified for state with at-large berths.
The 200 medley relay is seeded seventh, while the 400 free relay is 17th and the 200 free relay is 18th.
Basketball team loses in tourney
The 20th-seeded basketball team opened the Division III district tournament Feb. 16 with a 69-20 loss at fourth-seeded Fredericktown to finish 4-19.
Point guard Myrial Holbrook scored 10 points.