CANTON — For Westerville North High School senior Jason Mathews and a group of Dublin Jerome sprinters, the Division I boys state swimming and diving meet featured a stop atop the podium Feb. 24 at Branin Natatorium.
Mathews defended his championship in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing first in 54.76 seconds after winning the title in 54.91 last season when he competed for Pickerington North.
The Celtics shared the title in the 200 freestyle relay with Cincinnati St. Xavier, as both finished in 1:23.36.
“There’s a lot of excitement,” said Mathews, who also placed third in the 200 individual medley (1:50.43). “It’s really something special and it means a lot to me.”
Jerome’s 200 free relay was led off by senior Grant Cicci, who was followed by seniors Westin Fishel and Elek Kayuha and junior Max Scott.
St. Xavier, which scored 413 points to easily win the team championship ahead of runner-up Brecksville-Broadview Heights (150), had a slight lead heading into the final leg that featured the Bombers’ Nicholas Perera against Scott.
“St. X, I think, dove in just ahead of us, but I just outswam Nicolas Perera to get the tie,” Scott said.
Dublin Coffman led central Ohio teams in points, scoring 91 to place fifth. Jerome placed 10th (80), St. Charles finished 13th (60), Westerville North was 14th (50) and Olentangy was 22nd (32).
Earning state runner-up finishes were New Albany sophomore Noah Duperre in diving (579.05) and Coffman senior Eddie Michael in the 100 free (44.92).
Also reaching the podium in diving were Olentangy Liberty freshman Jack Matthews, who placed third (513.7), and Olentangy Orange junior Luke Cheetham, who finished eighth (453.1).More videos
•Dublin Jerome 200-yard freestyle relay
•Dublin Coffman's Eddie Michael
•Olentangy's Ben Kuriger
•New Albany's Noah Duperre
“It’s not the same judges every time so it can vary, but I think I did way better this year than last year even though I got the same place,” Duperre said. “I just felt much better.”
Michael added a sixth-place finish in the 50 free (20.84).
“Just seeing that 44 on the board (in the 100 free) was like magic,” Michael said.
Olentangy senior Benjamin Kuriger earned a pair of third-place finishes in the 200 free (1:37.9) and 100 butterfly (47.93).
“I’m by no means disappointed,” Kuriger said.
Coffman (1:34.42) and St. Charles (1:34.47) placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 200 medley relay, and in the 500 free, Westerville North junior Andrew Bernsdorf placed fifth (4:33.8) and St. Charles junior Patrick Pema was seventh (4:35.25).
Also finishing seventh were Scott in the 50 free (20.96) and Pema in the 100 backstroke (50.29), while the Jerome 400 free relay placed eighth (3:08.55).