High school boys swimming: Hudson's Gallagher, Stow's Cimera stand out at state meet

Ashley Bastock
Kent Weeklies
Hudson's Alex Gallagher swims the butterfly leg of the 200 yard individual Medley in the Boy's Northeast District Div. I Championship at the Spire Institute on Saturday Feb. 20, 2021. Gallagher placed second in the event with a time 1:54.44.

In the boys swimming and diving championships on Feb. 27 at Canton's C.T. Branin Natatorium, both Hudson freshman Alex Gallagher and Stow junior Alex Cimera made it to the podium with top-eight finishes in individual events. 

Hudson led area teams with its 14th-place finish as a team (55 points). Stow ended the meet tied with Cincinnati Walnut Hills for 20th place in the team rankings (30 points). 

Gallagher made it to the podium for the Explorers with his sixth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (57.00). 

Gallagher also finished 12th in the 200 individual medley (1:54.75). Sophomore teammate Vittorio Cappabianca finished in 16th (1:55.45).

"Alex was just super excited to race," Hudson coach Matt Davis said. "You can tell, he doesn't really back down and that's what it takes for a young kid to come in here and be top six at the state meet with a lot of seniors in front of him. I think that shows you that he won't back down from a challenge.

"I was really pumped with his IM, he moved up a couple of spots, Vittorio moved up six spots in the 200 IM and they both got top 16. That was a really good tone setter for us." 

Hudson's Seth Baylor competes in the 100 Yard Butterfly of Boys Division I State Swimming at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton Saturday, February 27, 2021.

The Explorers narrowly missed the podium in the 200 medley relay as Dylan Albrecht, Gallagher, Andrew Ketler and Seth Baylor came in ninth (1:33.98), dropping nearly a second from their district time last week (1:34.94).

Baylor came in ninth place in the 100 butterfly (50.24), followed by Ketler in 18th (51.07). 

Baylor also led the Explorers in the 500 freestyle coming in 10th place (4:38.40). Cappabianca finished 18th (4:43.29) and Ketler finished 20th (4:43.72).

In the final event of the evening, the Explorers' 400 freestyle relay team of Ketler, Baylor, Albrecht and Benjamin Martinez came in 16th place (3:11.35). 

"I'm bummed to miss these seniors that we had," Davis said. "Seth to be top 10 in two individual events and Dylan and Ben to contribute on relays that were All-Ohio, we're going to miss those guys but we're excited about our future and the young kids that we have. Hopefully we keep getting better." 

Stow's Alex Cimera celebrates his 4th place finish in the 100 yard Freestyle of Division I State Swimming at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton Saturday, February 27, 2021.

For Stow, junior Alex Cimera made it to the podium with his fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle (45.17).

It was his first time making it to the state podium in his high school career.

"Freshman year qualifying for states was a really big deal," Stow coach Ryan Miller said of Cimera. "Sophomore year placing [in the top 16] was a big deal and the goal this year was to podium.

"He spent so much time working on his start this week, it's made a huge difference. I just couldn't be happier for him and his success. He pours everything into his season and to watch him succeed makes you so proud as a coach."

Cimera came in 10th in the 50 freestyle in his first individual event of the day (20.97). 

The junior also swam the first leg in Stow's 200 freestyle relay, along with Luke Novak, William Dorenkott and Keith Turnbull, with the Bulldogs finishing in 16th place (1:27.86). 

Stow led area teams in the 400 freestyle relay with a 14th-place finish by Cimera, Novak, Dylan Cossin and Turnbull (3:10.70). 

Cossin also came in 21st place in the 500 freestyle for the Bulldogs (4:44.87).

"Just to see the kids step up to face challenges this year alone, just overcoming so much," Miller said. "To see the relays succeed, both relays were all-state, top 16, which is something we haven't had at least in quite awhile. So it's amazing to see them step up and push each other. Our seniors Dylan and Luke, they've worked so hard throughout their four years and to see their success means everything to me too."

Cincinnati St. Xavier won the Division I team state title (261.5 points).