Braxten Judkins of the Grove City High School boys swimming and diving team grabbed the last spot in the 100-yard freestyle for the Division I state meet.

Braxten Judkins of the Grove City High School boys swimming and diving team grabbed the last spot in the 100-yard freestyle for the Division I state meet.

However, the senior did so at the expense of his friend, Pickerington North's Paul Hintz. The two tied for fifth in the event at the district meet Feb. 19 at Ohio State in a time of 47.71 seconds and had to compete in a swim-off at the end of the meet.

Judkins won the swim-off.

"I hoped it wouldn't come down to him or me," he said.

Judkins was the only state qualifier for Grove City or Central Crossing. He will compete in a preliminary heat on Friday, Feb. 25, and, if he advances, will compete in the final on Saturday, Feb. 26. The meet is being held at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.

The Grove City boys team finished 16th at district with 44.5 points, behind champion Upper Arlington (432.5). The Greyhounds girls team finished 19th (12) behind Upper Arlington (505).

The top three finishers in each swimming event and top four divers at district automatically qualified for state. In addition, 11 at-large state berths were awarded based on times statewide.

Judkins, who is seeded 24th at state behind Strongsville senior Michael Meldon (44.7), was seeded sixth at district in 49.59 but dropped 1.88 seconds off his time.

"The tapering has been a big factor for me," said Judkins, who made the awards podium at district for the first time as an individual by placing in the top eight. "It was pretty cool to be up there as an individual."

Judkins joined senior Ty Payne, sophomore Jack Bailey and freshman Jordan Bailey on the awards podium after the four placed eighth in the 200 medley relay in 1:44.38.

The girls 400 free relay of sophomore Taylor Camp, senior Kaitlyn Camp, senior Makenzie Best and junior Ashley Miller had the best finish for the Greyhounds, placing 14th (3:50.81).

Miller was 15th in the 200 free (2:02.7) and joined Kaitlyn Camp, freshman Claudie Pierce and Taylor Camp to finish 15th in the 200 medley relay (1:57.1).

•For the past four years, Central Crossing senior Caroline Kruczynski has been chasing a spot on the podium at the district meet.

She missed her final chance to accomplish that goal by 1.67 seconds, as she finished 26th in the 50 free (26.43).

"My goal was to make it to at least the podium," said Kruczynski, who dropped .01 of a second off her sectional time. "That's what I have been trying to do my whole career, but I am happy with it."

Neither the Comets girls team nor boys team scored at district.

The girls 200 medley relay of Kyle Dyer, Tyler Smith, Jordan Messisco and Kelley Jones placed 19th in 1:52.5, trimming 1.55 seconds off their sectional time, to post the team's best finish.

Kruczynski competed in four events at district, placing 27th in the 100 backstroke (1:03.8) and teaming with senior Alyssa Stamper, Hannah Wilhelm and Hannah Hildebrand to place 25th in the 200 free relay (1:56.16) and teaming with Molly Lalonde, Hildebrand and Stamper to finish 25th in the 200 medley (2:08.26).

"It's never been easy to make it to districts," Kruczynski said. "This year I was worried if I was even going to make it or not.

"My times have been a little lower than I wanted them to be."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the state qualifiers with district result and state seed for the Central Crossing and Grove City boys and girls swimming and diving teams:

CENTRAL CROSSING

Boys - None; Girls - None

Others who competed at district: Boys - 200 medley relay (1:52.50, 19th); 200 free relay (1:38.67, 20th); 400 free relay (3:39.05, 20th); Girls - Caroline Kruczynski: 50 free: (26.43, 26th), 100 back (1:03.8, 27th); 200 medley relay (2:08.26, 25th); 200 free relay (1:55.16, 25th); 400 free relay (4:33.81, 28th)

GROVE CITY

Boys - Braxten Judkins: 100 free (47.71, fifth, 24th); Girls - None

Others who competed at district: Boys - Jack Bailey: 50 free (23.35, 23rd), 100 free (51.25, 25th); Judkins: 50 free (22.13. ninth); 200 medley relay (1:44.38, eighth); 200 free relay (DQ); 400 free relay (3:41.61, 23rd); Girls - Kaitlyn Camp: 100 free (57.55, 28th); Taylor Camp: 50 free (25.79, 17th); Ashley Miller: 200 free (2:02.70, 15th), 100 back (1:02.21, 23rd); 200 medley relay (1:57.10, 15th); 400 free relay (3:50.81, 14th)