Andrew Martin of the Pickerington High School North boys swimming and diving team admitted he wasn't swimming at 100 percent during the Division I district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State.
The senior had known that was coming for weeks, though.
"I rested for this meet, just not all the way. I'm resting for state," Martin said. "I know there's still room for improvement (at state). I know I can go faster."
Martin made the plan look good, placing second in the 100-yard butterfly (51.01 seconds) and 100 backstroke (51.22) at district to earn automatic berths in both events to the state meet, which runs Thursday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. He also helped the 200 medley relay to a third-place finish (1:37.32) and an at-large berth with junior Justin Mathews, senior Josh Harris and junior Jacob Griffith.
Martin is seeded fifth at state in the 100 back and sixth in the 100 fly. He was 22nd at state in the 100 back (53.99) last year.
"He's at the halfway point of his taper, and the goal there is to make sure he can still perform at the state," coach Justin Dortch said. "I have complete confidence he'll do terrific. I think he has a legitimate chance to place in the top five in both of his individual events."
Martin will be joined at state by senior Sara Sams of the girls team, who was third in the 100 breaststroke (1:06) at district and is seeded 12th at state, and junior diver Clay White, who was third at district (501.2 points) and earned the fourth seed at state.
The boys' 200 medley relay is seeded 13th.
The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advanced to state. 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 at district advanced to state.
As a team, the North boys were ninth (114) behind champion Upper Arlington (380) as 24 teams scored. The girls scored 57 points and were 14th behind champion UA (491) -- which is seeking its ninth consecutive state title this weekend -- as 24 teams scored.
Dortch was especially impressed with Sams, who also was ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:11.16) and helped the 200 medley relay to a ninth-place finish (1:52.09) and the 200 freestyle relay to 10th (1:42.41).
"Her breaststroke was very solid, but her best swim of the day was in the 200 free relay. She's never been a 24 in the 50 free, and (at district) she was 23.88," Dortch said. "We're proud of all the kids. Everyone here today had a best time in some way, shape or form."
Central's Martin bids for another title
Central senior Maddie Martin has given herself a chance to win her fourth consecutive 100 fly state title, but she said the real pressure came before the district meet.
"Before this meet, I was putting pressure on myself," said Martin, who won the 100 fly district title (55.7) and also was second in the 100 free (51.57).
"Now that it's over, I'm ready for state. I'm excited for it. I'm not putting as much pressure on myself as I was before (district) weekend. I'm just ready to get back.
"I probably won't be really nervous until Friday, anyway. Then everything really starts to set in."
Martin, an Auburn signee who also was ninth in the 100 free (52.25) last year at state, dropped 3.5 seconds in the 100 fly from the sectional meet and 3.2 seconds in the 100 free.
"I was tired last week, sore and tight," she said. "I'd been going hard. I was hoping for 54 or 55 (seconds) here (in the 100 fly). I just felt really good (at district)."
Martin is Central's only state representative. The Tigers' only other top-10 district finish came from the girls 200 medley relay, which was 10th (1:52.99) with junior Ashley Stewart, freshman Sidney Martin, Maddie Martin and freshman Valerie Orr.
The girls team placed 13th with 61 points and the boys finished 24th with six points.