Stow swimming grinds through victories over Nordonia
STOW — Compared to other winter sports at Stow-Munroe Falls, the swimming and diving teams had a December that resembled normalcy.
Because the Bulldogs home pool is at Akron General-North Hospital, they've been able to continue their season while the rest of Stow sports paused.
As coach Ryan Miller said, however, it has not been easy.
"It's challenging for everyone," Miller said. "It's definitely hard to go from having three days off to going into winter break training to going in to having all these meets. I think they can overcome it, though."
Nordonia coach Glenn Yorkievitz said his team wasn't 100 percent, as it also was coming out of hard winter break training.
"They're tired, but they put forward a solid effort tonight," Yorkievitz said. "They're beat up. We were without a couple of our best swimmers tonight, but we were right there."
Thus, neither coach expected season-best times when the two squads met Wednesday at Akron General-North.
In the end, Stow continued its recent dominance over the Knights, but Yorkievitz was satisfied with the effort.
The Stow boys won the meet 117-68, and the Bulldog girls won 130-54.
Miller said his team was able to excel, despite him placing many of his top swimmers in "off events" — that is, not swimming their best events.
"It was good to see them swim in different events," Miller said. "This week we will swim off events tonight, then probably swim core events Friday [vs. Wadsworth] and then off events again Saturday [at Painesville Riverside]."
"I like to look at how we performed last year against them and how we did tonight," Yorkievitz said. "We definitely improved. Against a team like Stow, you know it's going to be tough."
Despite mixing it up, Stow's returning state qualifiers led the Bulldogs to sweep all 11 swimming events.
Junior Alex Cimera showed off his versatility, winning the 500-yard freestyle in 4:56.32 and the 100 backstroke in 57.75 second.
Senior Luke Novak dominated his two events, winning the 200 freestyle in 1:50.9 and the 100 butterfly in 57.59.
Junior Keith Turnbull swept the sprint events, winning the 50 freestyle in 24.31 and the 100 freestyle in 52.65.
Senior Dylan Cossin won the 200 individual medley in 2:07.19 and then took the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.88.
Miller said Cossin's improvement in the breaststroke likely means it won't be an "off event" any longer.
"We were joking about taking him out of the 200 [freestyle] and putting him in the breaststroke," Miller said. "Dylan just keeps getting better."
The Bulldog boys dominated the three relay events.
The team of Cimera, Cossin, Jacob Hickin and Calvin Edwardson won the 200 medley relay in 1:45.94, and the team of Novak, Caleb Sun, Hickin and Turnbull won the 200 free relay in 1:39.1.
Novak, Cimera, Turnbull and Cossin then reprised their state meet form in the 400 free relay, winning in 3:24:53.
The one area where the Nordonia boys did excel vs. Stow was one-meter diving. Nordonia finished 1-2-3 on the boards, with Greg Lewicki winning with 206.8 points.
In the girls meet, Yorkievitz was happy to see his team score a couple of individual wins after getting shut out last year against Stow.
"The girls are getting better," Yorkievitz said. "Stow has a lot of depth, but we keep moving forward."
Airijana Smajilovic broke through first for the Knights, winning the 200 IM in 2:00.06.
Nordonia also got an individual win from Reanna Turk in the 100 backstroke. She won in 1:08.21.
Beyond that, Stow's seniors led the way for the Bulldogs.
Molly O'Brien picked up two wins for Stow in the 200 freestyle (2:17.65) and 100 butterfly (1:12.55), and Grace Pontius swept the sprint events, taking the 100 free in 1:00.02 and the 50 free in 27.15 seconds.
Evie Lewis won the 500 freestyle in 5:41.25 for Stow, while Casey Johnson-Bowers won the 100 breaststroke in 1:30.
Stow also swept the relays, beginning with Lewis, Pontius, Annalia Dye and Olivia Casalinova winning the 200 medley relay in 2:01.79.
Casalinova, Andie Russell, Claire Helbig and Lewis combined to win the 200 free relay in 1:54.96, while Pontius, Russell, Dye and Lewis dominated the 400 free relay in 4:11.46.
In diving, Stow sophomore Paige Galpern won with 208.05 points.