CANTON — With 11 state championships under its belt, the Upper Arlington High School girls swimming and diving team was not the favorite to win a 12th on Feb. 25 at Branin Natatorium.
The Golden Bears brought just seven individuals and all three relays to the Division I state meet, but they squeezed every drop of productivity they could from the relatively small group to again stand atop the podium.
UA swept all three relays and got an individual title from Dakota Elliott in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, .57 seconds) to amass 246 points to finish ahead of runner-up Mason (230) as 53 teams scored.
The 200 medley relay of Hannah Caldwell, Elliott, Anna Linzell and Kendra Sheehan started the day by setting the state and state-meet records with a time of 1:41.88, and UA later won the 200 freestyle relay (1:34.51) with Brooke Brown, Caldwell, Linzell and Katie Trace.
Trace placed second in both the 200 free (1:47.86) and 500 free (4:54.7), and by the time UA got to the 400 free relay, it needed to finish only in the top three to clinch the team title.
The Bears won that event in 2:24.93 with Elliott, Anna Fischer, Sheehan and Trace.
“I think I heard an old saying once that luck is just the product of preparation,” UA coach Dan Peterkoski said. “You don’t get lucky if you don’t have the work behind you to be in this position in the first place. It takes a little luck, but it takes a lot of dedication and willingness to get up there and go after it when the time comes.”Videos •Upper Arlington girls swimming coach Dan Peterkoski discusses the Golden Bears' Division I state championship Feb. 25. •Upper Arlington swimmer Dakota Elliott discusses her Division I state championship in the 200 IM. •Dublin Coffman swimmer Hannah Bailey won the Division I state championship in the 100 breaststroke.
Trace was runner-up to Mason’s Allison Bloebaum in both the 200 free and 500 free.
On Feb. 19, swimmeet.com had projected Mason to win the meet 272-212.
“That took a lot of pressure off of us so we could just swim our own races,” Trace said. “Every single swimmer had a job to do. Especially with a smaller group, we had to focus on our own work. It was harder to pull this off, but all those standout swims added up.”
Dublin Coffman freshman Hannah Bailey pulled an upset to win the area’s only other championship, taking the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.76. That was a 1.07-second drop from the preliminaries Feb. 24.
Bailey defeated runner-up and defending champion Hannah Gresser of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit by .1 of a second. Gresser set both the state and state-meet records last year with a time of 1:01.52.
“I’ve been wanting to get first and working toward it all season, but the fact that it actually happened is just great,” said Bailey, who had the fifth-fastest time entering the final. “I can’t even believe it. I didn’t imagine beating (Gresser) at all.”