Cuyahoga Falls junior Marissa Bowers set a school record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1 minute, 59 seconds Feb. 11 at the Akron Division I Sectional Meet at the University of Akron. She finished ninth, which qualified her for districts.

"Marissa had a great start, a great turn," said Cuyahoga Falls head coach Laura Lindsay. "She's been working on her under waters a lot, and I think it really paid off."

First-place finishers advanced automatically to the Northeast District Meet Feb. 16 and 18 at Cleveland State University. A total of 40 swimmers, 33 divers and 20 relay teams qualified. Results from districts were not available at press time.

Overall, the Cuyahoga Falls girls finished in ninth place out of 14 teams at sectionals with 130 points.

Hudson was first with 417 points, Walsh Jesuit was second with 341 points and Brecksville-Broadview Heights was third with 245 points.

Other Black Tigers who qualified for districts were senior Marissa Kassinger, juniors Lily Lewis and Katy Rozsa and sophomore Bailey Rule.

Bowers also qualified for districts in the 100 freestyle with a 12th-place time of 55.62.

"Marissa had a great start," Lindsay said. "She and Marissa Kassinger were swimming right beside one another, and they love racing each other. I think that's what helped Marissa Bowers go so quickly. Her last 25 is what really set her apart from everybody. She came off that wall, had a really powerful kick and just took off."

Kassinger placed 29th with a time of 56.98. She also was 18th in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.41.

"Marissa did great," said Lindsay. "She got a little stuck on her turn in the 50 freestyle, but she entered the water really clean."

Rozsa finished ninth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:13.72 and 23rd in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:10.97. Both were personal bests.

"The 200 IM was actually pretty shocking," Lindsay said. "Katy's been kind of stuck on 2:17 for the longest time. I think she was a little nervous because her splits haven't been quite as equal as they normally are. She swam the 50 backstroke part really quick, and I think that killed her a little bit for the 50 breaststroke part.

"In the 100 breaststroke she had amazing start. She was first off the block, she entered the water so clean that she came up three-quarters of the way down the pool way ahead of everybody. She hadn't dropped time in that event in almost three years, so she was really happy about that."

Rule finished 10th in the one-meter diving Feb. 9 with a score of 309.25.

"Bailey is one of those girls who strives under pressure," said Lindsay.

Lewis placed 35th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:07.4 and 36th in the 500 freestyle, clocking in at 5:42.27.

"I think Lily got a little excited about the 200," Lindsay said. "Her first 100 split was pretty quick, a little bit quicker than she's used to. Her second 100 was a little slower than normal. In the 500 she's very calculated. She knew exactly what she needed to hold to go a specific time to get to districts."

Rozsa, Kassinger, Lewis and Bowers teamed to finish ninth in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:43.23. The same four girls combined to finish 17th in the 200 medley relay, clocking in at 1:56.68.

On the boys side, Cuyahoga Falls finished 11th out of 14 teams at sectionals with 98 points.

Hudson was first with 368 points, Brecksville-Broadview Heights was second with 343 points and North Royalton was third with 319 points.

The Black Tigers' district qualifiers included seniors Tommy Hillyer and Cooper Tedquist, juniors Jack Kramer, Najee Newell and Tyler Ulbricht and sophomore Skyler Holmes.

Hillyer finished 16th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:02.95 and 23rd in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.69.

"Tommy had a great 50 freestyle," Lindsay said. "It was very smooth. He hit his wall and planned his strokes perfectly. In the 100 breaststroke he actually got all of the turns and the technique together, two things he's been struggling with all season."

Newell placed 23rd in the 1-meter diving Feb. 8 with a score of 277.4.

"Najee wasn't at his best, but he was very confident in what he did," said the coach.

Hillyer, Holmes, Tedquist and Kramer teamed to finish 14th in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:33.23.

In the 400 freestyle relay Kramer, Holmes, Ulbricht and Hillyer combined to place 18th with a time of 3:28.91.

"Jack had an awesome swim, and the others just followed," said Lindsay. "I don't think they could've swam this event any better than they did."

At the district meet, the top three finishers, and 24 total, in each individual event advanced to the state meet Feb. 22 to 25 at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. The first-place finishers, and 16 total, in each relay event advance to Canton.


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