Despite losses, Falls boys swimming ready for postseason

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

Despite four defeats in three meets last week, the Cuyahoga Falls boys swimming and diving team had some fine individual performances.

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On Jan. 23 the Black Tigers lost to both Suburban League National Conference rivals North Royalton, the host, and Brecksville-Broadview Heights in a tri-meet. On Jan. 26 they lost 138-34 to National Conference rival Nordonia in a virtual meet on Senior Night. Three nights later, on Jan. 29 in the regular-season finale, they fell 136-25 at conference foe Stow-Munroe Falls.

According to Cuyahoga Falls head coach Will Turnbull, the tri-meet with North Royalton and Brecksville-Broadview Heights produced some fantastic swims and several personal-best times.

“There was really high energy on the pool deck for not just our team but for the other team’s swimmers as well,” he said. “There were a lot of incredible individual performances.”

The Black Tigers’ best finish, however, was the 400-yard freestyle relay team of junior Nathan Lowe, sophomores Cristian Gonzalez and Lucas Ulbricht and freshman Andrew Wegner, which finished third with a time of 4 minutes, 20.11 seconds.

Gonzalez finished fifth in both the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:11.68 and the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:59.63.

“Cristian had a personal best in the 500 freestyle, breaking six minutes for the first time,” said Turnbull.

Lowe finished fifth in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:49.49. Ulbricht placed fifth in the 100 backstroke with a clocking of 1:09.9, while Wegner placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:25.28.

In the loss to Nordonia, Cuyahoga Falls celebrated Senior Night with some fast swims in the final home meet of the season.

“We saw some excellent efforts despite it being a virtual meet,” Turnbull said. “The boys lost the meet, but there was a lot of improvement found in some off events.”

Ulbricht finished second in both the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 59.39 and the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:08.25. Wegner was second in the 100 breaststroke with a clocking of 1:22.68.

“Andrew had a breakout swim in the 100 breaststroke,” said the coach.

Gonzalez finished third in both the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:12.84 and the 500 freestyle with a time of 6:09.91.

“Cristian contributed excellent swims in the 200 and 500 freestyles,” Turnbull said.

Also placing third was Lowe in the 50 freestyle with a time of 27.13.

According to Turnbull, the meet against Stow-Munroe Falls was his team’s finest of the season.

“There was a true return to the rivalry between Falls and Stow,” he said. “The Black Tigers created an electric atmosphere on the pool deck while still following all the COVID restrictions. Almost everyone had a best time, and it sets the team up well for a successful run at the sectional meet. The boys ultimately ended up losing the meet but are looking forward to the future and making [the Stow-Munroe Falls] meet a little bit closer next year.”

Gonzalez finished second in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:46.94. He also finished fourth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:06.99.

“Cristian had another big breakout meet, dropping more than 14 seconds in the 500 freestyle and another three in the 200 freestyle,” said Turnbull. “He has a very bright future.”

Lowe, Wegner, Gonzalez and Ulbricht combined to finish second in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 4:15.47.

Lowe finished third in the 50 freestyle with a time of 26.6. Ulbricht placed third in the 100 freestyle with a time of 58.92 and fourth in the 100 backstroke with a clocking of 1:09.07.

“Nathan dropped time in the 50 freestyle and put in a solid effort in the 100 breaststroke,” Turnbull said. “Lucas had another good meet, dropping time in both the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.”

Wegner was fourth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:20.59