Anyone associated with high school swimming will tell you the phrase "winter break" in an oxymoron with this sport.
That’s because the two weeks of winter break from school usually coincide with the toughest workouts of the season.
Stow-Munroe Falls coach Ryan Miller noted his team was no different, noting the Bulldogs were "pretty beat up" heading into 2020.
To break up the monotony of these punishing workouts, Stow participated in the Walsh Jesuit Relays Dec. 28 at Ocasek Natatorium at the University of Akron.
"It’s just an opportunity to have a bit of fun," Miller said. "It challenged the kids to step up in different events and and in different capacities."
It doesn’t hurt that Stow swept the team titles, either.
The Stow boys won the team title at the Walsh Relays for the third straight year with 126 points, finishing 10 points ahead of runner-up Wadsworth. Meanwhile, the girls won the title with 118 points, besting runner-up Archbishop Hoban by eight points.
"It’s not the best teams in the area and the kids get to experiment," Miller said. "The boys have won it three straight years now. It’s good for the girls to get a win."
On the boys side, the Bulldogs didn’t have their "A" squad in the 200-yard medley relay, but still won in 1:44:47, as sophomore Alex Cimera, junior Caleb Myers, freshman Jacob Hickin and sophomore William Dorenkoott prevailed.
Stow won the 800 freestyle relay in a new meet record of 7:29.27. Junior Luke Novak, senior Luke Baker, sophomore Keith Turnbull and junior Dylan Crossin set the new mark.
Novak, Myers, Cimera and Crossin joined forces to win the 400 medley relay in 3:49.39, while Dorenkott, freshman Wiley McKnight, Bakre and Turnball won the 200 backstroke relay in 1:59.28.
The team of Dorenkott, Baker, Caleb Sun and Cimera then closed the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:26.46.
"It’s pretty fun for them to swim in different relays," Miller said.
On the girls side, Stow opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay, as Casey Johnson-Bowers, Isabel Samels, Elysia Gabbas and Olivea Caslinova combined to win in 2:05.34.
Stow’s Evie Lewis, Casalinova, Annalis Cremer and Gabbas joined forces to win the 200 butterfly relay in 2:06.52.
The team of Grace Pontius, India Johnson-Bowers, Bernice Sun and Casalinova combined to win the 200 breaststroke relay in 2:27.86.
Stow was set to close out its winter break by swimming at the Suburban League Meet Saturday at Ocaek Natatorium.
Miller said he wanted the Bulldogs to stay within themselves, even if the boys had a chance to gets past Brecksville-Broadview Heights.
"We want to keep it simple and just focus on our times individually," Miller said. " We’ll try to focus on thing we can control."
Stow will next see action Jan. 10 at Nordonia at 6 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GHO