It came down to the final few events, but the Tallmadge boys swimming and diving team lost 87-79 to Suburban League American Conference rival Aurora in its season opener Wednesday at University Park YMCA in Akron.
"It was a very close meet," first-year Blue Devils head coach Emmy Walton said. "At one point, we were ahead.
"Last year, Aurora had a small team, but this year, they have double the number of swimmers, so when their huge team walked in, we were a little intimidated because we were expecting a smaller team.
"We still felt we had a shot to win, though, but we came up short. Overall, it went really well. Even the boys who didn’t score points did well."
Leading the way for Tallmadge was junior Nick Sabetta, who won two individual events and was part of two winning relay teams.
Sabetta won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 59.47 seconds and the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:25.88. Junior Alex Krukemeyer finished second (2:27.74) in the 200 IM.
"I’m really proud of both of Nick’s individual performances," Walton said. "They were very impressive. He was prepared mentally and he just performed really well. He had excellent starts and turns and it really paid off."
Sabetta joined senior Ryan Riter, Krukemeyer and junior Cole Neupert to win the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:55.53.
Sabetta, Krukemeyer, Riter and junior Jarod Shumaker won the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:52.25.
Senior Kyle Wilber won both the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.46 and the 100 freestyle with a time of 58.22.
"Kyle was really impressive," Walton said. "He took our advice and applied it to his events."
Riter won the 100 breaststroke with a clocking of 1:10.22.
"It was a crucial point in the meet because we knew we were behind by a few points, so Ryan getting first was really exciting," Walton said. "We told him he needed to get first and he got first."
In the 50 freestyle, Shumaker finished third (26.41).
Finishing runner-up (1:51.38) in the 200 freestyle relay was the team of freshman Frankie Ballard, sophomore Andrew Nelson, Neupert and Wilber.
"I was really proud of all three relays," Walton said.
Also placing second were Riter in the 200 freestyle (2:03.83) and Krukemeyer in the 500 freestyle (6:01.91).
Neupert finished third (1:10.59) in the 100 backstroke.
As for the Lady Blue Devils, they fell 128-39 to the Lady Greenmen.
"We didn’t think we were going to win necessarily, but we thought it might be a little closer," Walton said. "Just like with the boys, Aurora really got us with the numbers.
"They had twice as many swimmers as we did. I’m really proud of the girls overall, though."
Freshman Hannah Fiume led the way for Tallmadge.
She finished second in both the 200 IM with a time of 2:47.03 and the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:25.5.
"This was Hannah’s first high school meet and it was really impressive to see her get her second places," Walton said. "She was our leading scorer."
Fiume also joined junior Maddie Parry, sophomore Isabelle Garrett and junior Savanna Ansley to finish runner-up (2:04.37) in the 200 freestyle relay.
"That relay was impressive," Walton said. "It was close. They finished strong."
In the 200 freestyle, Garrett placed third (2:32.07).
Sophomore Sandra Deblasio finished third (7:41.94) in the 500 freestyle.
Garrett finished third (1:08.94) in the 100 freestyle.
Taking third (1:25.23) in the 100 butterfly was Parry.
Both the boys and girls teams are scheduled to travel to Alliance Dec. 8 at 5 p.m.