McDaniels leads charge for Falls girls swimming on Senior Night

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

Although just a sophomore, Cuyahoga Falls swimmer Lainey McDaniels helped celebrate Senior Night by turning in two individual first-place finishes and a leg of a wining relay team Jan. 26.

That all came despite a virtual 123-54 defeat to Suburban League National Conference rival Nordonia.

.

McDaniels captured both the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 28.53 seconds and the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:09.42. She also teamed with senior Lucy Ulbricht, junior Olivia Smith and sophomore Kaylee Johnson to win the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 2:03.38.

“Lainey continues to improve throughout a challenging season in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly,” Black Tigers head coach Will Turnbull said. “She dropped time again the 100 butterfly.”

Overall, Turnbull was happy with his team’s performance.

“The girls had some fast swims in the final home meet of the season,” he said. “We saw some excellent efforts despite it being a virtual meet. The girls lost the meet, but there was a lot of improvement found in some off events.”

Three nights later, in the regular-season finale on Jan. 29, Cuyahoga Falls lost 125-50 at National Conference rival Stow-Munroe Falls.

Also in the loss to Nordonia, Ulbricht won the one-meter diving with a score of 161.55. She also finished second in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:15.57. Smith won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:25.57 and placed second in the 100 freestyle with a clocking of 1:04.85.

“Lucy, our lone senior, had a fantastic night capping off her career at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium with good efforts on the one-meter dive and 100 backstroke events,” said Turnbull. “Olivia played a key role with her swims in the 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle.”

Johnson placed third in both the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:42.96 and the 500 freestyle with a time of 7:09.12.

According to the coach, the meet against Stow-Munroe Falls was his team’s best 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 girls 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.”

McDaniels again captured both the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.14 and the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:08.72. Ulbricht finished second in both the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:50.02 and the one-meter diving with a score of 152.55 and third in the 100 backstroke with a clocking of 1:16.85.

“Lainey dropped time in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly,” said Turnbull. “Lucy had a fantastic final dual meet in the diving, 200 IM and 100 backstroke.”

Smith finished second in the 100 breaststroke with a clocking of 1:26.6. Placing third was Johnson in the 500 freestyle with a time of 7:07.22.

Cuyahoga Falls began the week Jan. 23 with losses to conference rivals North Royalton, the host, and Brecksville-Broadview Heights in a tri-meet.

“The girls had a fantastic meet with a lot of best times and really high energy on the pool deck for not just our team but for the other team’s swimmers as well,” Turnbull said. “The girls ultimately lost both meets, but there were a lot of incredible individual performances.”

McDaniels once again paced the Black Tigers by winning the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.74 and finishing third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:10.52.

“Lainey had a great meet, earning a first-place finish and best time in the 50 freestyle,” said the coach.

Smith finished third in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:22.66. Johnson placed fourth with a clocking of 2:39.54. Smith also finished third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:24.72, while Johnson was fourth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 7:01.87.

“Kaylee turned in solid performances in the 200 and 500 freestyles,” Turnbull said