Jake Meyer was focused on setting more than one program record during the Upper Arlington swimming and diving team's Jan. 18 dual meet against Olentangy.
The senior and his teammates wanted to break all three relay records in the Golden Bears' final meet before the OCC-Central Division meet seven days later at Kenyon College, and that is exactly what happened.
Meyer was on the 200-yard medley relay that finished first in 1 minute, 33.9 seconds with Grant Gooding, Jackson Gooding and Avery Voss, and later teamed with Hayden Jay, Antonio Ventresca and Voss to set a new mark of 1:24.8 in the 200 free relay.
The 400 free relay of Grant Gooding, Jay, Ventresca and Voss also set a record of 3:06.06.
What wasn't on Meyer's mind was coming close to having his name put on UA's record board in another event. He won the 100 breaststroke in 56.66, just .33 of a second off the mark set in 1999 by Phil Davis.
Considering Meyer's improvement in the event during the past few years, maybe the circumstances were appropriate. Focused largely on freestyle before last year, Meyer's 56.66 ranked him fifth statewide as of Jan. 25 according to swimmeet.com.
"It's pretty cool since I'm still new to breaststroke," Meyer said. "It's been interesting this year getting pretty high up in the rankings and doing well in meets. It's neat to see where it's taken me.
"When I first swam it, I liked how it was a completely different motion than any other strokes. I enjoyed learning something new."
Meyer hopes to trim that time during the postseason, which begins Feb. 8 with a Division I sectional meet at UA. He won the 100 breast title in the OCC-Central meet in 57.25, leading UA to 600 points and its 20th consecutive league championship ahead of Hilliard Davidson (400), Dublin Coffman (316), Marysville (217) and Central Crossing (112).
"Phil is one of the all-time greats here," boys coach Mike de Bear said. "(Meyer) has the chance to go really fast. Athletic ability plus desire is a good combination. He didn't have too much success when he was young, either, so there's definitely a hunger there."
The girls team extended its league championship streak to 26, scoring 573 points to finish first ahead of Coffman (456), Marysville (288), Davidson (241), Central Crossing (163) and Westland (70).
"The alumni talk about (the streak) and they say, 'This is something we built,'" said Caroline Porterfield, who won the 50 free (24.6), placed second in the 100 butterfly (59.51) and was on the runner-up 200 free relay (1:41.79) and 400 free relay (3:40.04).
Porterfield, who finished 13th at state last year in the 50 free and 16th in the 100 fly and was on the fifth-place 200 medley relay and eighth-place 400 free relay, said weight training has helped her cut time this season. She swam a personal-best 23.7 in the 50 free earlier this season and hopes to better her best time in the 100 fly of 56.5, set last year at state.
"I have my kick down, but my technique struggles sometimes and if you work in the weight room, lift harder and then focus on breath control, you'll do better," Porterfield said. "(Teammates) Emma Schueler and Erin Reardon have encouraged me to lift harder and put more weight on. I think that's shown up in my performances."
Also finishing first for the boys at the league meet were Jay in the 200 free (1:42.68), Grant Kennedy in the 100 fly (52.51), Michael Lee in diving (382.8), Voss in the 50 free (20.9) and 100 free (46.13) and the 400 free relay (3:14.75).
On the girls side, Julia Fidanza finished first in diving (497.55) and Reardon was first in the 200 free (1:55.51) and 500 free (5:10.79).
Hockey team remains undefeated
The hockey team set a program record for victories last weekend, winning its 29th game Jan. 24 with a 6-0 victory over Springboro and building on that the next day with a 12-1 rout of Thomas Worthington at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
UA is 30-0 overall and 12-0 in the Capital Hockey Conference entering a Friday, Jan. 31, game against St. Charles at the Ice Haus.
The Bears, who were ranked first in the district last week and second in the state poll, went 28-7-1 in 2014-15.
"It's been quite a ride," coach Brett Howden said. "This is the guys reaping the results of hard work and learning from their experiences day in and day out. They have a desire to play for each other. We've found a way. It's cliche, but we've found a way. We've had some close calls."
Will Cohen has 31 goals and 32 assists for a team-leading 63 points, ahead of Sam Burns (28 goals, 32 assists), Tim Kramer (21 goals, 29 assists) and Will Lawless (18 goals, 29 assists).
UA has eight days off from games after playing St. Charles before its final CHC game Feb. 9 against Olentangy Liberty.
"The next week or so, it'll be good to focus on some things and make adjustments we need to make," Howden said.
"We still have a lot of goals we want to achieve."
Gymnasts closing in on league title
The return of Mia Tzagournis from an injury, along with consistently strong performances from Amelia Pearson and Addy Pittenger, have gymnastics coach Brittany Maynard optimistic that her team will continue to improve even as it nears another OCC-Central championship.
UA was 5-0 in the league before its final league competition Jan. 29, when it took on Davidson in a five-team meet at Marysville that also included Hilliard Bradley and Hilliard Darby. The OCC-Central meet also will be at Marysville on Feb. 12.
Tzagournis missed the first several meets of the season because of mononucleosis.
"We have had some pretty consistent team scores. Addy has been a consistent top scorer for our team (and with) Mia being back that has been a great asset to our team score," Maynard said, noting that Pittenger and Tzagournis are the team's only all-around gymnasts. "Amelia has really stepped up for the team as a freshman. She continues to build on her scores and her skills each meet. She is eager to try new things and add more to her routines."
UA remained unbeaten in the OCC-Central Jan. 22 when it finished second (129.15) in a five-team competition at Marysville behind Dublin Jerome (134.5) and ahead of league foe Marysville (128.7) as well as Dublin Scioto (107.55) and Coffman (88.85).
Below are the coming schedules for the Upper Arlington boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 31 -- Home vs. Westland. The Golden Bears defeated the Cougars 60-46 on Dec. 20.
Feb. 4 -- At Westerville South
Jan. 30 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
*Jan. 31 -- At Westland. The Golden Bears defeated the Cougars 46-12 on Dec. 20.
Feb. 4 -- Home vs. Westerville South
*Jan. 31 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 1 -- Upper Arlington Invitational
*Jan. 30 -- At Dublin Coffman
Jan. 31 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
Feb. 1 -- Super Tri at Olentangy Liberty