Vecchio reaches district meet for Tallmadge boys swimming

Roger Gordon

Hard work and natural talent was why Drew Vecchio qualified for districts in two individual events Feb. 12 at a Division II sectional swimming meet at the Wooster YMCA.

The Tallmadge freshman finished ninth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 7.67 seconds and 13th in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:38.66. Both were personal-best times.

Tallmadge Blue Devils

“Drew did extremely well,” Blue Devils head coach Kaela Long said. “We didn’t think the 100 breaststroke would be an event he would make it to district in, so that was a pleasant surprise. He does not like swimming the 500 freestyle, but he’s very good at it. He’s a gifted swimmer, but he puts in a lot of work. He swims year-round. He doesn’t try to cut corners.”

The district meet is scheduled to be held at the Spire Institute in Geneva Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.

Overall, Tallmadge finished ninth out of 23 teams with 92 points. Rocky River won the competition with 366 points. Aurora finished second with 251 points and Akron Archbishop Hoban was third with 225 points.

“The boys did very well,” said Long. “We had four district qualifiers, double what we had last year, so that’s exciting. It was fun to watch the boys root on their teammates.”

Juniors Jack Markley and Nick Archer also qualified for districts, returning from last year – Markley in the 100 butterfly with an eighth-place personal-best time of 59.29 and Archer in the 100 backstroke with a clocking of 1:01.29.

“Jack did extremely well,” Long said. “He dropped more time than we’d anticipated. We definitely weren’t expecting that. I’m hoping that he tapers well this week to get ready for districts.

“Nick also swam his best time, so we are hoping he’s even faster at districts. Last season at districts he had a back injury, so he didn’t get his best time. As of right now, he’s feeling pretty well, so we’re hoping he’s able to drop more time and get under a minute.”

Also advancing to districts was freshman Bryce Hurley in the 200 individual medley with an 11th-place time of 2:17.38, a personal best by seven seconds.

“That was insane for Bryce. I don’t know where that came from. It was completely unexpected,” said the coach. “We expected him to drop time, but he dropped a ridiculous amount of time. I’m still not sure why or how it happened, but hopefully he’ll do well at districts too.”

Tallmadge also qualified two relays for the district meet. Hurley, Markley, Vecchio and Archer teamed to finish sixth in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:41.72. The same four boys placed seventh in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:49.27. Both were season-best times.

“Both relays did well, better than I expected. They dropped a ton of time,” Long said. “The boys work really well together. They’ve been practicing a lot and push each other, that’s for sure. I’m hoping that, after tapering, they drop another two seconds in each of those races.”

Archer finished 16th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.46.

In the 200 freestyle relay junior Joe Sabetta and freshmen Owen Hatch, Ty Liggett and Tanner Markley, Jack’s brother, combined to place 15th in the 200 freestyle relay with a clocking of 1:56.1.