Despite a slow start and loses in two consecutive meets, the Stow-Munroe Falls swimming and diving teams finished their busy week with a strong finish at January 21 Barberton Invitational at the University of Akron.
"Overall this was a long week with a lot of swimming," said Stow coach Dan Reese. "By the end of the week, our team really swam well. We have a lot to be excited about heading into our final weeks of the season.
"At this point, we are farther ahead as a team than we were last year."
The Bulldogs traveled to Green on January 18, both girls' and boys' squads losing to Green's Bulldog lineups. The girls lost 106-64, while the boys were upended 96-74.
Leading Stow's girls with two first-place finishes was Amy Vober in the 200-yard freestyle (2:05.33) and the 100 free (57.27). Samantha Huddleston won the 500 free (5:45.99), Samantha Houk took top honors in the 100 backstroke (1:06.32), and Kayla Engle was first in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:12.93).
Houk, Engle, Vober and Huddleston combined their talents for a win in the 200-yard medley relay (1:59.81).
The Stow boys were led by Alex Schoenberg's first in the 50 free (23.55). Schoenberg, along with Cory Cremer, Matt Johnson-Smyth and Simon Lumley, won the 200-yard medley relay (1:36.94).
At the Friday, January 20 home meet, the Bulldogs competed with a strong Brecksville-Broadview Heights team. The outcome found Stow on the losing end, as the girls fell to the Bees, 78-107; the boys, 73-114.
Top swims for the girls included firsts for Huddleston in the 50 free (26.25), Vober in the 100 free (55.88), and Houk in the 100 back (1:07.90). Diver Amanda Kimble placed first the one-meter event (174.15).
Stow captured second places in each of the relay events: Houk, Engle, Vober and Huddleston in the 200 medley (1:57.83); Houk, Rachel Lumley, Elysia Gabbas, and Lizzie Cole in the 200 free (1:44.59); and Vober, Cole, Engle and Huddleston in the 400 free (4:02.33)
The boys's lone first in the meet was Cremer's 200-yard individual medley (2:05.76), with a 1.50-second drop.
The boys also claimed seconds in their relays. Quartets included Cremer, Simon Lumley, Jason Walsh and Schoenberg in the 200 medley (1:47.57); Caleb Myers, Kyle Embry, Kevin Houk and Ben Johnson-Bowe in the 200 free (1:44.59); and Johnson-Smyth, Walsh, Justin Sparr and Kyle Banner in the 400 free (3:42.34).
The Bulldogs' schedule claimed some respite on Saturday, Jan 21, as each squad garnered second place out of a field of ten teams at the Barberton Invitational. Stow was bested by Walsh Jesuit, but stayed well ahead of the rest of the competition, including CVCA, Cuyahoga Falls, Highland, Kent Roosevelt, Louisville, Nordonia, and Tallmadge.
Best individual finish was Vober's second in the female 200 free (2:05.45). Clocking a second in the male 200 medley relay was the foursome of Cremer, Lumley, Schoenberg and Johnson-Smyth (1:46.85).
In the female division, third-place points went to Vober in the 100 butterfly, Huddleston in the 100 free, Cole in the 500 free, and Engle in the 100 breaststroke.
The Bulldog's Vober, Egnle, Huddleston and Cole took third in the 200 free relay.
Taking thirds in the male division were Lumley in the 100 fly, Cremer in the 100 free, and Walsh in the 500 free.
Stow was set to close its dual meet season at North Royalton Jan. 27, but results were unavailable at press time.