Freshman Lainey McDaniels continues to defy logic about what a freshman is capable of accomplishing in the pool.
The Cuyahoga Falls swimmer’s latest exploits came during a 130-48 loss at home to Suburban League National Conference rival Stow-Munroe Falls Jan. 31 in the regular-season finale on Senior Night.
The Black Tigers finished 0-7 on the season.
McDaniels captured the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.77 seconds. She also finished second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:01.22.
"Lainey is competing against girls who are two and three years older than her," Cuyahoga Falls head coach Richard Vaughn said. "She’s got a very good mental attitude. We just told her to go out and swim her races, and she pulled out very good performances."
Considering that Stow-Munroe Falls has a much larger team, Vaughn was pleased with his squad’s performance.
"Stow has very fast swimmers, and they have a lot of them," said Vaughn. "The thought process was, ‘Hey, let’s get ready for sectionals, and here’s your last chance in a dual meet.’ We pretty much had everybody swimming what they’re going to swim in the postseason, so it was really their last shot to tweak some things."
Sophomore Olivia Smith finished third in both the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:04.63 and the 200 freestyle with a clocking of 2:19.6.
"That was only the third time that Olivia has swam the 200 freestyle, so she’s still trying to get a handle on how to swim that event because it’s not really a distance event and it’s not really a sprint event," Vaughn said. "She was able to take a second off of her personal best, so we’re really excited to see what she can do at sectionals.
"The 100 freestyle is something that we’ve looked for Olivia to improve on. That’s part of the 400 freestyle relay that she also swims, so seeing her do well in that event definitely helps her personally and the relay team too."
Senior Bryce Matolyak won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:18.7.
"That’s Bryce’s signature event," said the coach. "If you have to end your dual-meet career, that’s definitely how you want to end it, with a win on Senior Night. Bryce had a lot of friends and family there to watch her that night, so it was really something special to see her go out and win her signature event on Senior Night."
Junior Lucy Ulbricht finished second in the 1-meter diving with a score of 162.5 and third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:20.25.
"Diving is really Lucy’s thing," Vaughn said. "It’s something that she’s really trained hard for. She’s been trying harder dives in preparation for sectionals coming up. We’ve had to put her in the 100 butterfly due to injuries. She’s really our only flier this season, and she’s risen to the occasion every time."
Sophomore Lisey Erhard placed third in the 200 IM with a clocking of 3:35.25.
"This is Lisey’s first season swimming," said Vaughn. "Due to injuries and a number of other issues, we’ve had to rely on the freshmen and sophomores a lot more than some other teams. The 200 IM is not an easy event for anyone to swim, but Lisey steps right up there when we need her to. We’re definitely looking forward to see what she can do next year for us."
The Cuyahoga Falls boys team fell 132-39 to the Bulldogs, finishing 0-7 for the season.
"The boys had been battling through some illness the week before the meet, so they were still trying to get their strength back," Vaughn said. "We were minus a couple boys, so we had some guys come off the bench. I told them, ‘Let’s just go out there and do our best and see if you can drop some time because it’s our last kind of training meet before the postseason."
Senior Tyler Johnson won the 1-meter diving with 163.15 points. Vann Strausser finished second with 155.8 points.
"Both Tyler and Vann have worked real hard on their dives leading up to the postseason," said the coach. "They’ve tried a couple new dives, and I think it really paid off in this meet. They were able to really get those harder dives and score more points."
Senior Dylan Holmes was second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.66 and third in the 100 freestyle with a clocking of 52.65.
"Dylan was pretty sick the week before, causing him to miss the Nordonia meet. Just having him back in the pool was good to see," Vaughn said. "It was some stiff competition with Stow. They have some fast boys.
"We had a quick talk with Dylan before the meet and told him, ‘This is the competition that you want. It’s going to push you to go a little bit harder and it’s going to push you to get your times ready for sectionals.’ It was a good training session for him and a good way to get his head in the right game for sectionals."
Both the boys and girls teams are scheduled to compete in a Division I sectional meet at the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium Feb. 8.
For the girls, the top two finishers in individual events at each of three sectionals plus the next best 34 finishers combined with the two other sectionals will advance to a district meet Feb. 15 at Cleveland State University’s Busbey Natatorium.
For the boys, the top two finishers at each of the three sectionals plus the next 24 best finishers combined with the other two sectionals will advance to districts.
In the relays, the top two finishers in each of two sectionals plus the next 16 best finishers combined with the one other sectional will advance to districts.