Tallmadge girls swimming sends relay to districts

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

It was completely unexpected, and that is what made it so special.

The Tallmadge 400-yard freestyle relay team of seniors Hannah Fiume and Cassie Jeffries and freshmen Rachel Tan and Jamie Ries qualified for districts by finishing fifth with a season-best time of 4 minutes, 10.52 seconds Feb. 12 in a Division II sectional swimming meet at the Wooster YMCA.

Tallmadge Blue Devils

“I don’t think the girls anticipated making it to districts. As a whole, they were skeptical going in. They weren’t very easily persuaded to be hopeful,” Blue Devils head coach Kaela Long said. “But they did an incredible job, and their time reflects that. When they made it to districts, they all kind of freaked out and were excited. Now that they’ve made it to districts, they’re working their butts off in the pool and hopefully will drop even more time.”

The district meet is scheduled to be held at the Spire Sports Institute in Geneva Feb. 19 at 10 a.m.

Overall, Tallmadge finished 10th out of 25 teams with 83 points. Alliance Marlington won the competition with 298 points. Akron Archbishop Hoban finished second with 275 points and Copley was third with 205 points.

“The girls did well,” said Long. “They seemed a little tired, but they did everything that we asked them to do.”

Tan also qualified for districts in the 200 individual medley with a fifth-place time of 2:27.64. Fiume qualified for districts in the same event with a seventh-place personal-best clocking of 2:32.74.

“It was a very good race for Rachel,” Long said. “She’s very consistent and is able to keep a pace well. She has a lot of natural talent.

“That was one of Hannah’s last races as a swimmer for Tallmadge. It was a very good race for her. She left everything out there. I know she was hoping to swim the 100 breaststroke, but she had a better chance of making it to districts in the 200 IM and she did. She swam incredibly well. She paced very well, too. Hopefully, she’ll drop even more time at districts.”

Freshman Rebecca Riter finished ninth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:23.7. Tan finished 10th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:09.9, and Fiume was 10th in the 500 freestyle with a time of 6:07.08.

Riter, Ries, junior Lauren Tan, Rachel’s sister, and freshman Hannah Burkholder teamed to placed 14th in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 2:16.04.