The Columbus Academy boys swimming and diving team held off a challenge from first-year program Olentangy Berlin to capture its fourth consecutive Division II district title Feb. 14 at Ohio State.
Correction: An earlier version of this story omitted the name of the fifth boys diver to advance to state in Division I. Information provided by the Central District Athletic Board said four advanced.
The Vikings pulled away late to finish with 251 points, ahead of runner-up Berlin (206) as 37 teams scored.
In the girls meet, Columbus School for Girls (355) won its sixth consecutive title, ahead of second-place Academy (300) as 30 teams scored.
Senior Jacob Eismann led the Academy boys, winning the 50-yard freestyle (20.99 seconds) and 100 backstroke (meet-record 49.73) and swimming on the first-place 200 medley (1:36.43) and 200 free (1:28.47) relays.
“It’s awesome for the boys,” coach Craig Yakscoe said. “The girls being runner-up against a really strong CSG team, I’m proud for them, too.”
Junior Jordan Aurnou-Rhees led CSG, winning the 200 individual medley (2:05) and 100 butterfly (55.78) and competing on the first-place 200 free relay (1:38.63).
“(This is) the best time of the year,” said Aurnou-Rhees, who will be competing in her third state meet. “It’s so fun. It’s when you see everything pay off, so it’s real exciting.”
Last season at state, Aurnou-Rhees won the 100 fly (54.47) and was third in the 200 IM (2:02.94). As a freshman, she was third in the 100 fly (56.71) and fifth in the 200 IM (2:06.78).
CSG’s Brian Botzman was voted Division II district girls Coach of the Year. He served as the assistant coach the previous six seasons under Stephanie Donley.
The top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to state Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
In Division I boys diving, Olentangy Liberty sophomore Jack Matthews earned a return trip to state by finishing first with a score of 606.65.
“I’m very happy,” said Matthews, who finished third at state last season with 513.7 points. “I’m happy with how I performed and I’m looking forward to next weekend. Last year was huge motivation because it was a new atmosphere. I didn’t dive nearly as well as I wanted to, so that’s been a big motivator for how I’ve been doing this season.”
New Albany’s Jordan Rzepka (571.9), Olentangy Orange’s Luke Cheetham (519.95), Delaware’s Sam Sulek (496.15) and Hilliard Darby’s Hayden Apel (482.6) also earned state berths.
Division I state boys diving will be held Feb. 23.
In Division II girls diving, Academy’s Jordan Skilken (568.15) and Worthington Christian’s Lena Morgan (553.6) qualified for state. In Division II boys diving, Wellington’s George Callanan (meet-record 499.4), teammate Taso Callanan (454.25) and Hartley’s Harold Conigy (339.55) advanced.
Division II state diving will be held Feb. 20.