ATHENS — While the Upper Arlington High School girls swimming and diving team is used to winning Division I district championships, the Golden Bears aren’t accustomed to the outcome being in doubt entering the final race of the district meet.
That was the case Feb. 17 at Ohio University, as UA led New Albany by one point heading into the 400-yard freestyle relay. But the relay of Caroline Colombo, Dakota Elliott, Erin Reardon and Kendra Sheehan swam to victory in 3 minutes, 27.45 seconds, edging the Eagles by .39 of a second to secure the Bears’ 19th consecutive district title.
UA scored 274 points, seven ahead of runner-up New Albany as 30 teams scored.
“We managed the meet throughout. We knew it would be up and down, not a perfect meet by any means,” Bears coach Dan Peterkoski said. “Hopefully our girls took away a lot of experience. I am not sure many people in here knew whoever won that last relay would win the meet. It was a dead-even, eyeball-to-eyeball race the whole time.”
UA and New Albany finished first and second for the third consecutive year. The Bears won by 150.5 points last year and 232.5 in 2016.
Elliott won the 200 individual medley in a meet-record 2:00.05 and finished first in the 500 free (4:52.82).
Westerville North’s Janessa Mathews set a meet record in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.89).
The top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to the state meet Feb. 23 and 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
The at-large state qualifiers are expected to be announced Feb. 18.
The Dublin Jerome boys team won its first district championship in its 14-year history, scoring 303 points to finish ahead of runner-up St. Charles (285) as 29 teams scored.
The Celtics got wins in the 200 free relay (meet-record 1:23.49) and 400 free relay (3:07.4) and runner-up finishes from Reno James in the 200 IM (1:54.61) and Max Scott in the 50 free (21.16).
“This feels amazing,” Jerome’s Grant Cicci said. “We have a deep team, but we train hard and we’re really fast.”
Other top performers in the boys meet included Olentangy’s Ben Kuriger, who won both the 100 butterfly (48.61) and 200 free (1:39.12); North’s Jason Mathews, who won both the 100 breast (meet-record 54.88) and 200 IM (1:51.63); and Dublin Coffman’s Eddie Michael, who finished first in both the 50 free (20.9) and 100 free (45.39).