The Cuyahoga Falls girls swimming and diving team didn’t let a season-opening 138-42 loss at home to Suburban League National Conference rival Brecksville-Broadview Heights Friday ruin its evening.
"I was really excited to see that the girls left it all in the pool," said Black Tigers head coach Richard Vaughn. "When the meet was over, they were jumping around the pool laughing and smiling. There was no sadness, there was no negative energy."
Despite the defeat, there were bright spots for Cuyahoga Falls. One was sophomore Lucy Ulbricht, who finished second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1 minute, 22.44 seconds.
"Lucy isn’t normally a butterflier, so getting second place against a team like Brecksville is a pretty strong accomplishment," said Vaughn.
Junior Chloe Gambol was third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:24.12.
"Chloe is one of those girls you can put in any event, and she’ll have a strong showing," Vaughn said. "She’s willing to swim whatever event the team needs her to swim. She’s usually a freestyler, so being able to slide in there and give us some points was nice."
Ulbricht also finished third in the one-meter diving with 120.6 points.
"Lucy stayed calm under pressure," said the coach. "She dove with confidence. Brecksville has a great diving program."
Senior Anna Johnston finished third in the 50 freestyle (29.16) and the 100 freestyle (1:04.66).
"For the first meet of the year, Anna handled the pressure pretty well," said Vaughn. "Brecksville is a top team in the region. It can be pretty intimidating, but Anna has that natural calm, cool personality. She doesn’t let the competition psyche her out."
Also placing third was junior Bryce Matolyak in the 100 breaststroke with a clocking of 1:23.03.
"Bryce has been fighting some injuries to her shoulders," Vaughn said. "For her to show some fortitude really helped out the team not just in the points but psychologically in that towards the end of the meet, it kind of rallied the girls."
The Cuyahoga Falls boys team lost 150-23.
Just like with the girls, there were some bright spots. One was junior Vann Strausser. He set personal bests in the one-meter diving with a fourth-place score of 112.5 and in the 50 freestyle with a fourth-place time of 28.89.
"Vann broke his previous best in diving by almost 30 points," said Vaughn. "It’s pretty impressive that he does both diving and swimming."
Junior Jared Weckerly finished fourth in the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle, while his classmate Jackson Gallagher also placed fourth in the 100 freestyle with a clocking of 1:01.68.
"Jared is a quiet leader. He’s very reliable," Vaughn said. "You can really put Jackson in any event, and he’s going to perform well in it."
Both the boys and girls teams are scheduled to travel to Twinsburg Dec. 7 and Wadsworth Dec. 12. Both are National Conference meets that are set to begin at 5 p.m.