Dylan Holmes simply did what he’s been doing all season.
That was good enough to qualify the Cuyahoga Falls senior swimmer for a Division I district meet this weekend at Cleveland State University’s Busbey Natatorium in two events.
At a sectional meet Feb. 8 at the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium, Holmes finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.35 seconds.
That time was good enough for 19th place combined with two other sectionals. The top two finishers in each sectional plus 24 at-large berths advanced to districts in the swimming events.
Holmes finished ninth (30th combined) in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.11.
"We were pretty sure that Dylan was going to make it to districts just based on his times," Black Tigers head coach Richard Vaughn said. "He tapered pretty well, so we were pretty excited to see that. Just a couple of tweaking things here and there this week, and hopefully he can turn in some personal bests at districts.
"As far as advancing to state, Dylan is right there. It will be interesting to see how he does with that increased level of competition. He’d have to drop some significant time, but nothing is ever out of the question."
Overall at sectionals, Cuyahoga Falls finished 12th out of 14 teams with 64 points.
Hudson won the competition with 420 points. Stow-Munroe Falls finished second with 315 points and Brecksville/Broadview Heights was third with 265 points.
"Everyone swam the way we expected them to," said Vaughn. "Pretty much everybody dropped time."
Also qualifying for the district meet were senior divers Tyler Johnson and Vann Strausser.
Johnson finished ninth (27th combined out of 32 spots) with a score of 223.6. Strausser was right behind in 10th place (28th out of 32 combined) with 213.1 points. Both were personal bests.
"Making it to districts has been a goal for both Tyler and Vann these past four years," Vaughn said. "It’s a great way to finish out your senior season by advancing to the district meet."
Holmes teamed with senior Zach Langbein, freshman Christian Gonzalez and Luke Ulbricht to finish 12th in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:52.98.
Langbein, Strausser, Holmes and Jacob Carleton joined forces to place 13th in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:44.24.
Gonzalez, Carleton, Jackson Gallagher and Nathan Lowe combined to finish 13th in the 200 medley relay with a clocking of 2:11.74.
The Cuyahoga Falls girls team finished 12th out of 16 teams with 53 points.
Hudson won the competition with 535 points. Akron Firestone finished second with 370 points and Brecksville/Broadview Heights was third with 273 points.
"The girls really came together. They pretty much all dropped times. They all swam well, swam great," said Vaughn, also the girls head coach.
Junior Lucy Ulbricht finished 13th (27th out of 34 spots combined) in the 1-meter diving with a personal-best score of 284.45. She will be making a return trip to districts, as she qualified last year.
"Lucy didn’t do anything different than she’s done all season," the coach said. "She was just trying to protect her dives and get the higher scores on the higher degree of difficulty.
"With diving being a score, if you have a great day and the other divers don’t have such a good day, you can get to state. It’s not like swimming where there are times."
Senior Bryce Matolyak also advanced to the district meet in the 100 breaststroke, finishing 13th (29th out of 40 combined) with a personal-best time of 1:15.6.
"Bryce has improved every year," said Vaughn. "She’s one of those swimmers who’s always asking, ‘How can I do better?’ ‘How can I improve?’ and ‘What can I do to get better?’
"She’s done a lot of work on her own outside of scheduled practice and has really shown the younger girls on the team what it takes to get to districts and what it takes to be a leader. She’s just been a great role model for those younger girls."
Freshman Lainey McDaniels’ 14th-place time of 26.66 in the 50 freestyle barely kept her from qualifying for districts. She missed by two-hundredths of a second.
Matolyak, Ulbricht, McDaniels and sophomore Olivia Smith teamed to finish eighth in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 4:08.9.
"We were thinking there was a shot for that 400 freestyle relay to advance to districts, but they came up a little short," the coach said.
The same four girls joined forces to finish ninth in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:52.41.
Kirstie Fontancz, Jackie Carleton, Lisey Erhard and Kaylee Johnson combined to place 16th in the 200 medley relay with a clocking of 2:53.5.
The district diving events were scheduled for Thursday with the boys at 10:30 a.m. and the girls at 6 p.m.
The district swimming events were set to be held Saturday at noon.
The top two finishers in each event combined with 22 other qualifiers at four other districts combined will advance to the state meet at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.