The Hilliard Darby High School boys swimming and diving team qualified for the Division I state meet in five events, and Hunter Cook had a hand in four of them.
The junior won the 500-yard freestyle in 4 minutes, 37.8 seconds and was runner-up in the 200 individual medley (1:54.28) in the district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State. Both times are program records.
Cook is seeded seventh at state in the 200 IM and eighth in the 500 free.
The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advanced to the state meet Thursday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide. The top three boys divers and top four girls divers also advanced to state.
"Hunter is the first district champion in the history of Hilliard swimming, any of the schools," said coach Brian Dickmann, who oversees the Darby, Bradley and Davidson boys and girls programs. "Both of his times also are all-Hilliard records. It was a great day in Hilliard swimming history because of the 25 swims the schools had combined, 22 were lifetime-bests. That's 88 percent."
Darby junior Cory McLaughlin placed eighth in the 200 IM (1:58.07) to advance to state, where he is seeded 21st.
Also qualifying for the Panthers were Cook, McLaughlin, Blake Dickmann and Ross McDonald in the 200 medley relay that placed fifth (1:38.56) and 400 free relay that placed seventh (3:15.55). Both times were program records and "all-Hilliard" records.
The 200 medley relay is seeded 20th at state and the 400 free relay is 23rd.
"It was a very exciting day for all of us," Cook said. "All of our hard work paid off. I'm so happy about the relays. No relay from Hilliard had ever made it to state. We're all pumped up about that. I want to reach the podium in both of my individual events and we want to make the finals in the relays."
Dickmann and McLaughlin just missed qualifying in the 100 backstroke. Dickmann placed eighth (54.04) and McLaughlin was ninth (54.05). Dickmann missed qualifying by .33 of a second.
"Those were lifetime-bests, so you can't ask for anything more," said coach Dickmann, who was named boys district Coach of the Year. "But the closer you are, the more disappointed you are."
The Panthers scored 149 points at district to finish fourth behind champion Upper Arlington (380) as 24 teams scored.
Bradley will be represented at state by Jon Satre, who is seeded 18th in the 100 back after placing fifth in 53.26. The junior narrowly missed advancing in the 200 free, as he placed seventh in 1:44.94, 1.04 seconds behind the final state qualifier.
Both of Satre's times set program and "all-Hilliard" records.
Bradley scored 26 points at district to finish 19th.
"I am extremely satisfied with both times," Satre said. "I wasn't confident I'd make it in the 200 free. My goal now is to just make it to the finals. I've heard times actually get slower at state, so if I hold my time, that'd be really good."
Davidson did not have any state qualifiers.
Freshman Alex Waldron set a program record in the 100 back, finishing 12th in 54.77, and freshman Kalen Sipl had the Wildcats' best finish, placing 10th (282.35 points) in diving. The Wildcats finished 21st with 12 points.
Davidson girls team sets program records
None of the Hilliard girls teams will be represented at state.
Davidson senior Megan Wittman set program records in two events, finishing ninth (5:24.26) in the 500 free and 11th in the 200 free (1:58.6), and junior Megan Schmalenberger set a program and "all-Hilliard" record in the 100 free, finishing eighth (53.3). Schmalenberger placed 10th in the 100 butterfly (59.2).
"Both Megans swam extremely well and I couldn't be prouder," coach Dickmann said. "Schmalenberger missed state by .02 of a second in the 100 free."
Davidson scored 43 points at district to finish 16th behind champion UA (491) as 24 teams scored.
Freshmen Mackenzie Caruthers and Olivia Wile set program records for Darby, which scored 25 points to finish 20th.
Caruthers placed sixth in the 500 free in 5:20.05, setting an "all-Hilliard" record, and finished 12th in the 200 free in a program-record 1:59.16.
Wile placed 16th in the 100 fly in a program-record 1:00.64 and finished 21st in the 100 back (1:04.06).
"It was a day I'll never forget," coach Dickmann said. "It was coaching euphoria. I'm so excited with everyone. This proves what we're doing is right. Training together as one program is beneficial for many reasons. It allows the kids to be friends, but it also challenges them daily to get better and beat a neighbor school. It's competition every day."
Bradley did not have any swimmers or divers at district.