Falls girls swimming earns first win of season over Barberton

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

The Cuyahoga Falls girls swimming and diving team notched its first victory of the season 88-66 over Suburban League crossover rival Barberton Jan. 13 in a virtual meet.

Two days later, on Jan. 15, the Black Tigers fell 120-33 to National Conference rival Hudson in another virtual meet.

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Cuyahoga Falls is now 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the National Conference.

“The meet against Barberton was our team’s first opportunity to get up and race in our home pool in an official meet this season,” Cuyahoga Falls head coach Will Turnbull said. “This is a challenging year for us because all our home meets have to be swum virtually, so the biggest thing we were focused on was making it a fun meet and creating our own energy on the pool deck.

“The girls did an excellent job of supporting each other. This should’ve been a competitive meet for us, so even though we weren’t racing right next to the Barberton swimmers in person, the girls did an excellent job of racing as if they were right there.

“We are moving to the American Conference next year, so we are excited to get used to racing some new teams next year, including Barberton.”

Junior Olivia Smith captured both the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2 minutes, 25.02 seconds and the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:25.41. Junior Jackie Carleton finished second (3:12.65) and junior Alexandra Fertig placed right behind in third (3:12.72) in the 200 freestyle. Carleton was third (1:48.41) in the 100 breaststroke.

“Olivia stepped up in the 200 freestyle and put together a good performance in the 100 breaststroke,” said Turnbull. “We are always working on something with Olivia with her stroke. She is very coachable.”

Sophomore Lainey McDaniels won both the 50 freestyle with a time of 28.35 and the 100 butterfly with a clocking of 1:11.1. Also in the 50 freestyle, junior Sheridon Chandler finished second (40.27) and freshman Haley Powell was third (47.66).

“Lainey turned in spectacular performances in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly,” Turnbull said. “She dropped two full seconds from our last meet in the 100 butterfly. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen, and it is showing every time she steps up on the blocks.”

Senior Lucy Ulbricht won both the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:50.27 and the one-meter diving with a score of 166.05. Sophomore Rylee Bennett finished second (3:27.99) in the 200 IM.

Bennett also captured the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:22.09. Powell placed second (1:52.11) and sophomore Sydney Baughman was third (1:59.76).

Sophomore Kaylee Johnson won both the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:21.46 and the 500 freestyle with a time of 7:05.86.

Ulbricht, Smith, McDaniels and Johnson teamed to win the 200 medley relay with a time of 2:17.18. The same four girls combined to capture the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 4:35.34.

Carleton, Baughman, Chandler and Bennett joined forces to win the 200 freestyle relay with a clocking of 2:45.27.

The coach used the meet against Hudson to allow his swimmers to compete in some events they do not normally take part in.

“There were a lot of first-time swims for all our athletes,” he said. “Sometimes taking a break from your normal events and training some off events can be good for you. The team did a great job of making this meet a valuable and fun experience.”

Smith finished second in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:18.38. Johnson finished third (1:21.77). Smith also placed fourth (29.47) in the 50 freestyle.

“Olivia had solid swims in both the 100 backstroke and 50 freestyle,” said Turnbull. “It was her first-ever 100 backstroke and she looked like a natural.”

McDaniels finished fourth in both the 200 IM (2:50.56) and the 500 freestyle (6:38.87).

Also placing fourth were Carleton in the 100 freestyle (1:25.51) and the 100 breaststroke (1:48.59) and Bennett in the 100 butterfly (1:40.86).

The Black Tigers are scheduled to oppose National Conference rival Nordonia virtually Jan. 26 at 3:45 p.m. before concluding the regular season at conference foe Stow-Munroe Falls Jan. 29 at 5:30 p.m.