Swimming & Diving: Record-setting Martina Peroni leads Olentangy Braves at state

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Olentangy's Martina Peroni (left) hugs New Albany's Sydney Boals after winning the 200 individual medley in a state-, meet- and pool-record 1:57.77 on Feb. 26 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. Peroni also finished second behind teammate Cameron Kuriger in the 100 butterfly.

For having just broken one of the two longest-standing Division I state-meet records, Olentangy junior swimmer Martina Peroni maintained an even keel Feb. 26 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Peroni’s first championship came in memorable fashion, as she won the 200-yard individual medley in a state-, meet- and pool-record 1 minute, 57.77 seconds. Two races later, the Duke commit finished second in the 100 butterfly in 54.19, .05 of a second behind teammate and classmate Cameron Kuriger.

“A time of (1:57) was the goal all season, the time I was working toward, but I honestly didn’t know where I’d be,” Peroni said. “My coaches and my parents just said to give it my best (and) ‘we believe in you.’ I was just trying to do my best. … That was my first swim in the pool (Feb. 26), but I felt pretty good in warm-ups.”

The previous record of 1:57.98 was set by Akron Firestone’s Kelli Miller in 2013.

Peroni, who was second in the 200 IM and seventh in the 500 freestyle as a sophomore after placing fifth in the 200 IM and 500 free as a freshman, led the Braves to 125 points and a program-best sixth-place finish behind champion New Albany (246.5) as 50 teams scored. She also was named Swimmer of the Meet.

Kuriger, who also won her first championship, relished sharing the moment with Peroni.

“My underwaters could have been a little bit better but overall, I was extremely happy. I always have to push it that last five yards. That’s when it gets scary for me because that’s when people can easily come back up, but I told myself to just hold strong, don’t breathe and get into the wall,” said Kuriger, who also was seventh in the 200 free (1:52.36). “What happened (Feb. 26) is something special and something not a lot of teams get to experience.”

Kuriger and Peroni also were on the sixth-place 400 free relay (3:31.78) and ninth-place 200 free relay (1:37.51) with junior Anna McGrath and sophomore Regan Kauderer.

McGrath was 10th in the 500 free (5:06.41) and 12th in the 200 free (1:53.67).

In the Division I boys meet Feb. 27, Olentangy junior Max McAlister was 17th in the 100 fly (51.04). He had been seeded 18th after swimming a personal-best 50.99 at district Feb. 21 at Bowling Green.

“I tried to do better on my turns than (at district) because I thought maybe that could (trim) time. I did that, but I think I was more tired overall,” said McAlister, who made his first state appearance. “If I keep up my training and add some lifting onto that, I think I’ll be where I want to be next year.”

Springfield, Hudson  

shine for Patriots 

Of the five athletes who competed for Liberty in individual events in the Division I state meet, four are eligible to return. 

Two of those athletes, sophomore swimmer Hudson Williams and freshman diver Kaden Springfield from the boys team, will have the opportunity to build on runner-up finishes. 

Springfield scored 485.4 points and battled Solon freshman Dominic Roberto, who scored 491.45 to win the title. 

Also in boys diving, junior Anthony Sciulli finished ninth (423.8). 

“I felt pretty confident with my dives and felt like I had a really good performance and did my best,” Springfield said. “I was pretty consistent and did the dives to the best of my ability. My strongest dive was probably my last dive. I knew I had to get a good amount of points to be in contention to win. Obviously it wasn’t enough, but I was still super happy.” 

Williams finished second in the 200 IM (1:49.63) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (56.82) in his first season competing for the Patriots. 

“Junior championships were his focus (last season) and he waited a year and joined us this year,” coach Ryan Ebie said. “He’s been a great addition to the team.” 

Senior Christian Hosler was fifth in the 50 free (20.74) and 21st in the 100 fly (51.46). 

Hosler and Williams were joined by junior Gavin Weis and sophomore Aiden Gaier on the 200 free relay that placed seventh (1:25.13) and the 400 free relay that was 11th (3:08.63). 

Others eligible to return after competing at district are junior Chris Patterson, sophomores Keegan McCauley and Isaac Wolfe, freshmen Jack Franz, Mason Miller and Noah Rumberg and sophomore diver Holden Donahue. 

Competing at state for the girls team was sophomore Morgan Hofmeister, who placed 21st in the 200 IM (2:10.51) and 22nd in the 500 free (5:13.85). 

Others eligible to return after competing at district are juniors Meggie Gehring, Kirin Loughrey, Kaitlyn Mathews and Amelia Wells and sophomores Emma Friedauer, Christina Racke and Bella Skoog. 

“It was just a scrappy group for the girls,” Ebie said. “They come in and work hard every single day. It’s great group to be around.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

Berlin's Brogan Robinson swims in the 100 breaststroke in the Division I state meet Feb. 27 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. He was eighth in the event and sixth in the 200 IM.

Robinson stands

out for Bears

Brogan Robinson reached the awards podium twice for the Berlin boys in the Division I state meet.

The junior was sixth in the 200 IM (1:51.67) and eighth in the 100 breast (57.18). Robinson improved both times from district, where he finished fifth in the 200 IM (1:51.94) and fourth in the 100 breast (57.49).

Junior Staci Nation tied for 15th in the 200 IM (2:09.39) for the girls team at state, and freshman Brenna Mowrey was 15th in the 100 fly (57.65).

The two also joined junior Callista Rouscher and sophomore Audrey Butcher on the 19th-place 200 free relay (1:39.55) and the 23rd-place 200 medley relay (1:50.6). 

—Scott Hennen

Knodel leads way

for Pioneers

Alex Knodel led the Orange girls in the Division I state meet.

The junior finished 19th in the 500 free (5:10.38) and swam on the 22nd-place 200 medley relay (1:49.63) with seniors Brooke Farren and Emma Logan and junior Kayla Fisher.

Freshman Augusta Ness placed 23rd in diving (165.15).

The boys team did not have any state qualifiers.

“All things considered, it was a great year because we had swimmers back for the first time since 2018, and I couldn’t more proud,” coach J.R. Fourqurean said. “We put all our eggs in the district basket to get to state, but we still did well. Alex improved a spot and the (200 medley) relay did well. Those four girls are a special group.

“The boys did great with (sophomore) Tuckor (Lambert), (freshman) Brady (Farren), (junior) Noah (Crowe) and (senior) Graham (Weidenhamer).”

—Scott Hennen

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BERLIN

Seniors lost: Boys — Kaden Morgan, Carson Reed and Graham Reed; Girls — Ellie First, Aubrey Pritchard, Isabella Roberts and Olivia Young

Key returnees: Boys — Brogan Robinson; Girls — Audrey Butcher, Brenna Mowrey, Staci Nation and Callista Rousher

Postseason: Boys — Third (349) at sectional behind champion Liberty (589), 13th (58) at district behind champion Upper Arlington (348.5), tied for 24th (24) at state behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (261.5); Girls — Second (419) at sectional behind Liberty (431), 10th (79) at district behind champion New Albany (378.5), 45th (3.5) at state behind champion New Albany (246.5)

LIBERTY

Seniors lost: Boys — Andrew Barker and Christian Hosler; Girls — Sarah Beavers, Brooke Kleinschmidt, Olivia Lynch and Sarah Worster 

Key returnees: Boys — Jack Franz, Aiden Gaier, Mason Miller, Anthony Sciulli, Kaden Springfield, Gavin Weis and Hudson Williams; Girls — Emma Friedauer, Meggie Gehring, Morgan Hofmeister, Kirin Loughrey, Kaitlyn Mathews, Christina Racke and Bella Skoog 

Postseason: Boys — First (589) at sectional, fifth (188.5) at district behind champion UA (348.5), ninth (108) at state behind champion St. Xavier (261.5); Girls — First (431) at sectional, 13th (56.5) at district behind champion New Albany (387.5), did not score at state

OLENTANGY

Seniors lost: Boys — None; Girls — Sophia Arnold, Lauren Kerscher, Eva Lahiri, Juliana Lee, Bryn Tokarz and Lia Volpe

Key returnees: Boys — Max McAlister; Girls — Regan Kauderer, Cameron Kuriger, Anna McGrath and Martina Peroni

Postseason: Boys — Fourth (153) at sectional behind champion Liberty (589), 19th (15) at district behind champion UA (348.5), did not score at state; Girls — Fourth (366) at sectional behind champion Liberty (431), sixth (152) at district behind champion New Albany (378.5), sixth (125) at state behind champion New Albany (246.5)

ORANGE

Seniors lost: Boys — Brooke Farren, Paige Kadar, Emma Logan, Carissa Long, Lauren Muffley, Reagan Readnour and Joanna Ross; Girls — Tavo De La Rosa, Samuel Evers, Ethan Knecht, Tannor Lambert, Jacob Rankin, Ben Reusser, Ian Sheets and Graham Weidenhamer

Key returnees: Boys — Noah Crowe, Brady Farren and Tuckor Lambert; Girls — Kayla Fisher, Alex Knodel and Augusta Ness

Postseason: Boys — Second (382) at sectional behind Liberty (589), 18th (20) at district behind champion UA (348.5); Girls — Third (388) at sectional behind champion Liberty (431), ninth (84) at district behind champion New Albany (378.5)