Keelin O'Connor was emotional after qualifying for the Division II state girls swimming and diving meet.
The Grandview Heights High School senior finished second in the 200-yard individual medley in the district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio University, earning an automatic berth to Branin Natatorium in Canton.
O'Connor was ecstatic and ready to shed tears of joy, but she couldn't. That can happen after swimming four strokes over 2 minutes, 13.26 seconds.
"I broke down after I won and wanted to cry, but I couldn't," said O'Connor, who is seeded 24th at state. "I couldn't catch my breath and that kept me from crying. I was just so happy.
"I have been working on this for three years and I finally made it. I can hardly wait to compete up there."
O'Connor will be joined at state by teammate Annie Volker as well as Charlie Ferguson and Calvin Furbee from the boys team. The boys 400 freestyle relay and girls 400 free relay also qualified.
Swimming preliminaries are Thursday, Feb. 22, and finals are Friday, Feb. 23.
At district, the top two placers in each event automatically advanced. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
"I think this was an amazing day," coach Susan Ferguson said. "Everyone improved on their times, and we're super excited for the (state) qualifiers."
Furbee will make his third trip to state and will compete in the 100 butterfly and 200 free. The senior is seeded second in the 200 free after winning a district title in 1:42.09, and he is the sixth seed in the 100 fly after placing second (51.01) at district.
"I didn't do a whole lot of tapering and I shaved partially because shaving puts me in the right mindset," Furbee said of his district preparation. "I'm not tapered by any means, so I'm excited to see what I can do at state."
Last year at state, Furbee placed fifth in the 200 free (1:43.08) and 10th in the 500 free (4:43.85). As a sophomore, he placed 10th in the 200 free (1:44.8) and 15th in the 100 fly (53.11).
Charlie Ferguson also advanced by finishing second at district in the 200 IM (1:58.69). The sophomore is seeded 10th at state.
Furbee and Ferguson also were on the state-qualifying 400 relay with seniors Andrew Bergmann and Bo Hawkins. They placed second (3:23.27) at district and are the 22nd seed at state.
The 200 free relay was fourth (1:32.7) with the same four swimmers but just missed advancing as Akron Hoban (1:32.53) earned the 24th and final seed.
"I was happy with my swims and it sets me up well for state," Furbee said. "I was so happy with the way the relays went. We had a good day."
The boys finished fourth (155) at district behind Columbus Academy (324), Watterson (213) and St. Clairsville (192) as 31 teams scored. The girls were seventh (119) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (356) as 32 teams scored.
Volker, a sophomore, was fifth at district in the 100 backstroke (59.77) and was a member of the 400 free relay (3:46.91) with O'Connor and juniors Martina Moncolova and Adelle Bechtel. The relay finished sixth at district and is the state's 23rd seed, and Volker is seeded 24th in the 100 back.
The 200 free relay of the same four girls just missed qualifying for state after finishing fifth at district in 1:45.49. Waynesville's time of 1:42.1 earned it the 24th seed.
"The kids were super-pumped and they were so much more relaxed than in sectional, and it showed with their times," coach Ferguson said. "We're really excited to see what can happen at state."