As her father broke the news that she had fallen short of qualifying to the Division I state meet in the 200-yard freestyle on a technicality for a second consecutive year, junior Jenny Demjanenko of the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls swimming and diving team felt disgusted.

As her father broke the news that she had fallen short of qualifying to the Division I state meet in the 200-yard freestyle on a technicality for a second consecutive year, junior Jenny Demjanenko of the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls swimming and diving team felt disgusted.

For a second consecutive season, she had posted one of the top 24 district times in the state but didn't receive an at-large state berth because an athlete from another district earned an automatic berth by finishing in the top three of a slower district.

Emily Schwartz (1 minute, 55.74 seconds) of Solon clinched the final state-qualifying spot by finishing third in the Northeast district, even though Demjanenko swam faster in finishing sixth in a program-record 1:55.72 in the district meet last Friday and Saturday at Ohio State.

But before Demjanenko had time to respond to the news, her disappointment disappeared when her father told her she had qualified in the 500 free, which usually is her second-best event.

This will be Demjanenko's first state appearance and the first time a Gahanna girl has made it to state since Courtney Shearer qualified as a senior in 2005.

The state meet is today through Saturday in C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.

"I was surprised by how things turned out," said Demjanenko, whose team finished 12th (66) in the 20-team field behind champion Upper Arlington (604). "I thought I would make it in the 200, not the 500. I'm shocked by how fast our district was this year. I dropped more than four seconds off my sectional time (2:00.1) and I moved up only one place. I was so upset when my dad told me I didn't make it to state in the 200, but when he told me I made it in the 500 I felt a lot better."

Demjanenko finished sixth in the 500 free at district in 5:10.3, breaking Shearer's program record (5:11.3) in the event. She is seeded 22nd for state.

"I'm bummed that I'm going in the 500 instead of the 200 because I truly don't like swimming the 500," Demjanenko said. "It's not fun to swim because it's so long. But I guess I'm a better distance swimmer than a sprinter. My goal is to finish in the top 16 in preliminaries to make it back to the consolation final. I feel like I can drop more time once I get over not liking the 500. This might be pushing it, but I think I can get a 5:06 if I have a great day."

•Despite feeling sick, senior Chris Downing made it to the Division I boys state meet in the 100 butterfly for a third consecutive year.

Downing finished fourth (52.08) at district behind St. Charles' Nick Schuttinger (49.68), St. Charles' Sandy Whitaker (49.7) and Dublin Scioto's Jacob Schuster (51.13).

"I was probably at about only 80 percent of my full strength, but once the adrenaline got going, I did pretty well," said Downing, whose team finished seventh (84) in a 21-team field behind champion St. Charles (496). "My main goal this week is to get fully healthy for state so I can give it my best shot."

Downing finished 11th in the 100 fly (51.77) at state last year and was 18th in the 100 fly (52.74) at state in 2007. He is seeded 13th this season.

Downing will attempt to break his own program record (51.34), which he set at the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 13.

"I'll be able to put all of my focus on this one event, and it's going to be my last high school race so I'll give it everything I have," Downing said. "I would definitely love to end my career on the podium (top eight), because I've never done that before."

Senior Austin Whalen placed fourth in diving (374.25 points) at district behind UA's Christian Holstein (556), Hilliard Davidson's (379.8) and Dublin Jerome's Jacob Kasper (377.85) to qualify for state for a second consecutive year.

"I'm pretty happy about this," Whalen said. "I just wanted to be consistent with all my dives and make it back to state, and I did those things."

Whalen finished 22nd at state (137.15) last year and is seeded 15th this season.

"I was really nervous, and I'm hoping I won't have the jitters this time," Whalen said. "I usually score well with my forward two-and-a-half, inward double and reverse double dives, and I'll need to score big with those to make it past the first five dives and into the second round. My goal is to finish somewhere within the top 16."

At a glance

Below are the state qualifiers from the Gahanna Lincoln boys and girls swimming and diving teams with event, district result and state seed:

Boys -- Chris Downing: 100 fly (52.08, fourth, seeded 13th); Austen Whalen: diving (374.25, fourth, 15th)

Girls -- Jenny Demjanenko: 500 free (5:10.3, 22nd)

Others who competed at district were:

Boys -- Casey Peirano: diving (293.1, eighth); Zach Koors: diving (281, ninth); Justin Henderson: 50 free (23.85, 25th), 100 free (52.35, 21st); Robert Mason: 50 free (24.18, 28th), 100 fly (59.7, 26th); Rob Roll: 200 free (1:55.13, 20th), 100 back (57.87, 13th); Chris Downing: 200 free (1:49.56, 11th); Evan Ecos: 100 fly (57.87, 20th), 200 IM (2:08.04, 19th); Chris Chang: 200 IM (2:17.12, 30th); 200 free relay (1:34.31, 14th); 400 free relay (3:25.83, ninth); 200 medley relay (1:51.39, 17th)

Girls -- Sarah Reidler: 100 free (55.93, 15th), 100 back (1:02.36, 14th); Jenny Demjanenko: 200 free (1:55.72, sixth); Heather Scott: 100 back (1:05.47, 26th), 200 IM (2:25.69, 22nd); 200 free relay (1:43.82, 10th); 400 free relay (3:45.51, eighth); 200 medley relay (2:06.73, 23rd)