Swimming & Diving
State berth rewarding for Grove City's Bailey
On one hand, Jack Bailey of the Grove City High School boys swimming and diving team didn't ask a lot of himself entering the Division I state meet.
On the other, the senior couldn't ask anything of anyone else.
Bailey earned an at-large berth to state and finished 22nd in the 100-yard freestyle Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. He completed the race in 48.04 seconds, .61 of a second shy of the time that earned him fourth place in the district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State.
"My only goal was that I swim faster at state than at district. I didn't, but I don't think I swam a bad race," said Bailey, who was the Greyhounds' only state qualifier. "That pool was a little slower than the one at Ohio State. But to get to state my senior year, I couldn't have asked a lot more of myself."
Bailey, who also competed at state as a freshman with Grove City's 200 free relay that finished 20th in 1:31.3, noted the differences between going by himself and with a team.
"Once I got into the pool this time, I wasn't affecting anyone else. I was just affecting myself," said Bailey, an Allegheny College recruit who won OCC-Ohio Division championships in the 100 free (48.79) and 50 free (22.11) and helped the 200 free relay to a first-place finish (1:35.16) on Jan. 26 at New Albany. "So there was a little less responsibility, but at the same time there was more."
Coach Amy Miller had hoped some of Bailey's taper, which was designed for district, would hold over another week.
"He was tapering for his club and for us, so we tried to line up what we were doing at practices so they were as similar as possible," Miller said. "Once you actually get in the pool and start swimming, though, there's always that chance you're going to tire. But overall, his experience was good."
The 200 free relay, which placed fourth (1:34.14) in the Upper Arlington sectional Feb. 9 and 10th (1:31.91) at district, also included senior Chase Stock and freshmen Kalvin Koethke and Adam Stretch.
Koethke qualified for district in the 50 free and 100 free, finishing eighth (22.04) and 21st (49.85), respectively.
In the league meet, the boys were third (187) behind Pickerington North (349) and Lancaster (197) and ahead of Gahanna (186), Pickerington Central (169), Reynoldsburg (75) and Newark (48).
The girls team got third-place finishes from sophomore Margo Leist in the 200 free (2:15.09) and the 400 free relay (4:16.03) while scoring 107.5 points and placing sixth behind North (306), Gahanna (297.5), Reynoldsburg (205), Central (175) and Lancaster (129) and ahead of Newark (30).
The boys were fifth (105) in their 12-team sectional behind champion UA (351) and the girls were eighth (35) behind the champion Golden Bears (463).
At district, the boys were 16th (52) behind champion UA (380) as 24 teams scored.
The girls did not advance an individual or relay to state. Their season ended at district, at which they did not score.
The girls' 400 free relay was 18th (4:04.99) at district, Leist was 30th in the 200 free (2:09.3) and the 200 free relay was disqualified. Leist, a two-time district qualifier in the 200 free who also qualified in the 500 free her freshman year, leads a group of expected returnees that includes her two co-captains, junior Kayla Heacock and sophomore Allyson Payne.
The boys team loses three seniors in Bailey, Chase Hartman and Stock. The girls team had no seniors.
"The biggest thing we're talking about with them is staying in shape," Miller said. "We hope they do something year-round, not just swimming during the high school season. They don't have to be in the pool all the time, but being on a club team and being competitive can be huge."