Lions’ swimmers exceed expectations at sectionals

Zach Rolfes is a member of the boys 200 medley relay.

Zach Rolfes is a member of the boys 200 medley relay.
By Chris Chaney
Sun staff

The New Richmond Lions swim team saw the spoils of season’s worth of hard work this past weekend at the Mason High School Natatorium as the Lions advanced 12 individuals competing in seven events through to the Division II Southwest District meet.

“We met all of our expectations,” head coach Judy Middeler said. “We were hoping that Tyler (David) would make it in the 200 and 500 (freestyle), which he did. Our 200 and 400 free relays teams both made it, so that brought in another four boys. They’ve been working hard to get the relays up to the district level.

“Then the girls came back on Saturday and did well. I was hoping all three of our relays would make it, but when I saw how we were placed I thought we might only get two through, but the 200 medley started us off right. We have eight different girls going in a combination of those three relays, so it was a good ending to our season.”

David led the way for the Lions, placing second in both of his sectional races, which earned him top-10 honors in the district. His 4:53.09 in the 500-yard freestyle was good enough for sixth-best in the district and his time of 1:49.75 in the 200 freestyle was eighth-best in the district. Both events have David and Middeler excited about what may come this weekend.

“He did very well,” Middeler said of David. “He’s definitely a distance swimmer who usually starts slow, but he was right there with the lead swimmers, so he ended up in second place.

“He made it to districts last year in the 500, but this was the first time he’s made it in both (the 500 and the 200), so he’s very ready to do what he needs to do and we’re looking for good things at the district level.”

As a freestyle specialist, it’s no surprise that David will be competing on both qualifying freestyle relay teams as well. The 200-yard relay team of Noah David, Tyler David, Nicholas Flake and Derek Gelter finished in fourth place in their sectional and had the 19th best time in the district.

The same lineup will compete in the 400-yard freestyle relay at Miami University after finishing in fifth place in their sectional with a time that placed them 16th in the district.

The girls’ side, as Middeler alluded to, surpassed some expectations by moving all three relay teams through to the district round. The first event of the day set the tone for the Lady Lions as the group of Claire Burns, Ryan Allen, Ann Bishop and Megan Woolum finished in 12th place at Mason with a time of 2:09.77 that places them in 22nd of 24 teams in the district.

In the freestyle relays, the 400-yard relay has the highest district seed after the lineup of Paige Anderson, Alicia Bailey, Jessica Nazareth and Woolum came in 11th at the sectional, earning the 19 seed in the district.

That same lineup, with Ashlee Lewis in Bailey’s second leg spot, qualified in the 200-yard relay with a time of 1:54.35, which placed them in 22nd in the district.

Middeler said she expects a good showing at the district tournament this coming weekend, especially from her individual qualifier.

“We hope that he finishes strong enough that he can make a trip up to Canton and McKinley High School,” she said. “He is ready mentally and physically. He’s tapered his times for Friday, so he should be ready.”

As for the relay events, Middeler said the goal is to try to better the times and improve upon the position that they qualified at. If they can do that, then she sees the district as a success whether or not a state qualification comes out of it.

The Division II sectional at Miami University kicks off for the boys on Friday, Feb. 14 with competition beginning at 10:45 a.m. The girls’ compete at the same time on Saturday morning, Feb. 15.