The New Albany girls and Upper Arlington boys swimming and diving teams broke lengthy district championship droughts in memorable fashion during the Division I district meet Feb. 13 at Ohio State.
The Golden Bears set five meet records, two by Avery Voss in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 free in addition to all three relays, to amass 381.5 points and win their first title since 2013, finishing 68.5 points ahead of runner-up St. Charles as 23 teams scored.
In contrast, New Albany’s girls won only one event — the first of the day, the 200 medley relay (1 minute, 42.28 seconds) — but used their depth to score 378 points, finishing well ahead of runner-up Dublin Coffman (288) as 26 teams scored. The Eagles’ win ended UA’s 20-year championship streak and was their first district title since 2009, their last season in Division II before moving up to Division I.
New Albany recorded 11 top-four finishes, including runner-up efforts from Ava Lachey in the 100 free (50.82), Mia Lachey in the 200 free (1:50.43), the 200 free relay (1:35.49) and the 400 free relay (3:27.36).
“The kids stepped up and did their jobs and it was fun to see that,” Eagles coach Dave Wharton said. “It’s taken us 11 years to get back to this level. … Our depth on the girls side was so important.”
Other girls individual winners were Coffman’s Ellie Andrews in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.6) and 200 individual medley (2:01.67), the Shamrocks’ Hannah Bailey in the 100 butterfly (54.62), Dublin Jerome’s Maya Geringer in the 500 free (4:53.7), UA’s Riley Huddleston in the 50 free (22.98) and 100 backstroke (55.04), Olentangy Liberty diver Olivia Lynch (510 points) and Coffman’s Kristyn Sabol in the 100 free (50.54) and 200 free (1:50.16).
UA won the 200 free relay (1:33.92) and 400 free relay (3:26.43).
On the boys side, Voss said he exceeded his own expectations by winning the 50 free in 20.02 and swimming 44.12 in the 100 free. He also helped the Bears’ 200 free relay (1:23.17) and 400 free relay (3:05.13) to first place.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Everybody showed up,” Voss said. “We knew that we would have a good day, but we never expected anything this good. My times were faster than what I thought I could go.”
UA also got wins from its 200 medley relay (1:33.27), Hayden Jay in the 200 free (1:39.22) and Jake Meyer in the 100 breast (55.85).
Other boys winners were St. Charles’ Spencer Aurnou-Rhees in the 200 IM (1:49.83), the Cardinals’ Alex Nash in the 100 fly (50.68), New Albany’s Jimmy Lapsley in the 100 back (49.36) and Coffman’s Ethan Shaw in the 500 free (4:33.21).
The top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to the state meet Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.
At-large state qualifiers are expected to be released Feb. 16.
The top four girls divers advanced to state Feb. 20 at Branin Natatorium. UA’s Julia Fidanza placed second (493.8), followed by New Albany’s Emma Skinner (472.3) and Gahanna’s Ashleigh Provan (407.15).