The Boardman Spartan boys posted some fast times at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I girls and boys district championships Saturday at Cleveland State University's Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.
Juniors Kyle Kimerer and Callen Aulizia were joined by freshmen Noah Basista and Matthew DunLany as the Spartan qualifiers. The four boys started the meet by finishing in second place in the 200 medley relay with a jaw-dropping school record time of 1:35.07.
The boys broke the record earlier in the season with the time of 1:36.64. The top two places automatically advance to the OHSAA Division I girls and boys state championships Friday and Saturday in Canton.
DunLany swam a 25.80 on the opening 50 backstroke leg. Basista had a solid start and finished his 50 breaststroke with a best split time of 26.46. Kimerer had a great take-off and posted a career-best split of 22.82 in the 50 butterfly.
Boardman was in fifth place when Aulizia hit the water and swam the fastest 50 free split in the entire meet of 19.99. The sub 20 time got the attention of everyone when it flashed up on the natatorium's giant video board. Aulizia passed everyone up except Breckville, which took first place in the time of 1:34.73.
"What an electrifying way for us to start this district meet. We were swimming very fast from the beginning of the relay, but the field was pulling away from us. The noise was deafening and the excitement was out of control when Cal hit the water," coach Terry O'Halloran said. "I haven't seen very many sub 20 times in Ohio high school swimming in my 32-year career. Shaving 1.6 seconds off the school record was also very impressive. Coaches Carlo Cordon, Chad DeAngelo and I were speechless after we saw the times."
The same four boys ended the meet in a similar fashion - by knocking three seconds off the Spartan 400 freestyle relay record while placing second in the time of 3:10.41.
Only 1.3 seconds separated the top three relay teams. Hudson finished first in the in the time of 3:09.05, and Brecksville posted a third place time of 3:10.37.
All four Spartans had career-best times in the event. Kimerer led off in a 47.78. DunLany swam a split time 48.90. Basista, who had just raced in the 100 breaststroke 15 minutes earlier, swam his best split time of 48.41. Aulizia held on to second place by splitting 45.12 on the anchor. Aulizia also is going to state in the 50 free, third place, and the 100 free, fifth place, with career-best times of 20.76 and 45.86.
Basista edged Tyler O'Halloran off the school record board in the 200 individual medley with the state-qualifying time of 1:56.85. O'Halloran's school record time of 1:56.88 was set in 2002. Basista broke his own freshman record in a state-qualifying time of 58.73 in his secons-place finish in the 100 breaststroke. The school record in that event is 56.94 and was set by Ryan Bailey in 2012.
Kimerer will compete in the 100 butterfly by posting a state-qualifying time of 51.68 in his fifth-place finish.
DunLany reset his freshman records in the 100 butterfly (53.08), placing 12th, and the 500 freestyle event (4:56.25), placing 13th. The current 500 freestyle record is held by DunLany's older brother, Aaron, in the time 4:43.64.
Just missing the state meet in the district qualifier was senior diver Dominic Mariano, who placed eighth with an 11 dive score of 399.35 points. The seventh-place score of 400.55 was earned by Solon freshman Josh Schwartz. The top seven places from the northeast district division I field automatically qualify to the state meet.
More than 50 teams competed at this year's district championships. Solon High School won the meet with the score of 223 points. Boardman was seventh place with 177 points.
On the girl's side, Boardman was unable to break through with any state qualifiers in what most coaches at the meet said was the fastest girl's district meet ever swam at Cleveland State.
Hudson won the meet with 344.5 points, and Boardman placed 16th with 45.5 points.
"Our girls had a super season. They finished with a 12 and two win-loss record and they also won the American Athletic Conference and the Northeast Aquatic Conference team titles, which we have never done in the same year," O'Halloran said. "Overall, we are a very young and talented team. Unfortunately, most of our girls do not belong to a year-around swim team program such as Penguin Swimming or the Y-Neptunes. That puts them at a distinct disadvantage when we go up against teams that have 30 to 40 swimmers and divers who practice spring, summer and fall before the next high school season in November. There are no shortcuts in diving or swimming. How much time and work you spend on the boards or in the water will determine your level of success."