Alex Cimera had specific goals when he made his first trip to the Division I state swimming meet.

The freshman phenom wanted to reach the state finals in the 100-backstroke with a time target of 51.6 seconds.

Cimera wasn’t quite able to reach those goals, but it didn’t mean his first trip to the state meet wasn’t a success.

Swimming in the Division I preliminaries Friday at CT Branin Natatorium in Canton, Cimera swam the 100 backstroke with a time of 52.25 seconds. missing his own school record by 0.01 seconds.

The time bettered Cimera’s seeded time (52.46) and moved him up to 19th place in the 100 backstroke rankings, but it was not enough to get him into the top 16 places, which advanced to the finals.

Sylvania Northview’s Kevin Gaynor snagged the final qualifying spot with a time of 51.99 seconds.

Despite not reaching the finals, Stow coach Ryan Miller had nothing but positives to say about Cimera.

“I can’t be more proud of him and happy with his performance,” Miller said. “We have to set our goals high if we want to be successful. As far as measuring the time, we didn’t quite get what we wanted, but in terms of there and doing what he needed to do, we’re happy.

“He did everything that he possibly could,” Miller added. “He left it all in the pool and that’s all you can ask.

What’s more, there was some history made in Cimera’s event.

Cincinnati Sycamore’s Carson Foster set a new state record in the 100 backstroke Friday, as he snagged the top qualifying spot in 46.28 seconds. The time also was a new national high school record.

On Saturday, Foster won the Division I state title in the backstroke in a time of 46.62 seconds

“It’s one of the best meets in the county,” Miller said. “Ohio really puts on a show. It’s just phenomenal.”

Miller said Cimera was happy with his performance as well.

“He was happy,” Miller said. “Just to move up in places was good. He was seeded 23rd and he finished 19th. It was a great experience for a freshman. 

“He’s ready and already gearing up for some USA Swimming meets,” he added. “He knows what he needs to do.”

Miller said Cimera, sophomore Luke Novak and other plan on continuing to train for meets this winter with the Riverfront YMCA and Hudson Explorers Aquatics team. 

He noted Cimera’s time have qualified him for the YMCA Zone meet in Columbus later this month.

“We’ve ramped up the yards with him already to get ready,” Miller said. “We’re excite to see Luke and a number of others can do. 

“I told my guys to take two or three days and reset, concentrate on schools and then get back into it,” Miller said. “Now’s a time that we can make up ground on other guys.”

Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, mleonard@recordpub.com or @MLeonard_RPC