Smith shines for Falls girls swimming vs. Wadsworth

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

Olivia Smith left her comfort zone and did it very well.

The Cuyahoga Falls junior normally competes in freestyle events, but in the Black Tigers’ season-opening 114-51 loss at Suburban League National Conference rival Wadsworth Wednesday.

Smith also swam the 100-yard breaststroke and came away with a winning time of 1 minute, 25.07 seconds.

“Olivia did really, really well in that event,” Cuyahoga Falls head coach Will Turnbull said. “She’s incredibly talented. More so than that, she works really hard. She’s only been swimming since her freshman year, but she’s really taken a love for the sport.”

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Smith also finished second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:04.83 and also made some excellent contributions to two relay events.

Despite the defeat, Turnbull was proud of his team’s effort.

“The girls did extremely well,” he said. “The team is a mix of a few really experienced swimmers and a lot of swimmers who were swimming in their very first meet ever. The girls did a really good job of supporting each other. Everybody turned in some really good performances that will lead to even better performances in the future.”

Sophomore Lainey McDaniels finished second in both the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:13.76 and the 50 freestyle with a time of 28.28.

“Lainey can be faster in the 50 freestyle,” said Turnbull. “We just have to tweak a few things and she’s going to get there. She had an excellent 100 butterfly. She dropped five seconds in that event from a preseason meet we had. She had a really solid race. The training is working for her.”

Senior Lucy Ulbricht also stepped out of her comfort zone. Normally, she is a diver, but the Wadsworth pool has no diving board. She finished second in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:49.44 and third in the 100 butterfly with a clocking of 1:21.98.

“Lucy really stepped up in both of those events,” the coach said. “She grew up swimming when she was little, then kind of took a little bit of a break from it. Ever since she started high school, she’s been working really, really hard at it.”

Sophomore Kaylee Johnson placed third in both the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:42.72 and the 500 freestyle with a clocking of 7:06.31.

Freshman Haley Powell was third in the 100 backstroke with a time of 2:16.78.

Cuyahoga Falls is scheduled to compete in a double-dual meet against league crossover rival Tallmadge and host, and National Conference foe Twinsburg Saturday.

The Black Tigers are set to host league crossover rival Barberton Jan. 13.