CANTON – The high school swim seasons for Clinton-Massie senior Gracie Storm and Wilmington sophomore Ricky Dungan came to an end here Friday night.
In the OHSAA Division II State Swimming & Diving Championship meet at CT Branin Natatorium at McKinley High School, Storm finished 13th in the girls 100-yard backstroke and 14th in the girls 500-yard freestyle while Dungan was 14th in the boys 500-yard freestyle.
Dungan clocked 4:48.63, a tick slower than Thursday’s prelims.
“I went out way too fast,” he said. “I think it was just the adrenaline of the finals. There’s definitely a fine line between how hard you can go out and how hard you should go out.”
Dungan said he plans to keep working hard with his club team the rest of the season and eyes a return trip to Canton in 2018.
“Next year, I hope to get in the final heat,” he said.
For Storm, who qualified to the state meet in seven events over her four-year career, finished in 5:14.01 in the 500 free and 59.15 in the 100 back.
“I just went out and tried my best,” she said. “I went up in placing. I had fun and that’s all that matters.”
Storm said she had a “goggle malfunction” in the 500 free event.
But there was no malfuncation in what’s next for the University of Toledo-bound pool rat.
“Right after this, I’m getting pizza,” she said with a big smile. “Hawaiian, I love Hawaiian. From Blaze. Pepperoni is a close second.”
… MEDAL STAND: At the state swim meet, coaches are asked to present medals to the top eight swimmers.
WHS head coach Mitch Hopf was fortunate enough to be that coach when Josh Quallen won the 100-yard butterfly in 2013.
But lest you think it’s an easy task – honoring eight young men or women in front of several thousand people, think again.
“I’d never done it before,” said Hopf. “I didn’t know how to do it. I watched other people so I didn’t mess up.”
With the podium steps at different heights depending on the placement of the swimmer, a coach might have to reach up to get the ribbon around the athlete’s neck.
There’s also the athlete, who may or may not bend over just the right amount so the coach doesn’t miss. The dynamics of what appears to be a simple act can be nerve-wracking with little time and thousands looking on.
But Hopf wouldn’t trade those anxious moments for anything in the swimming world.
“It was something I’ll never forget,” he said.
… NOW NO.2: Quallen, who is now a senior swimmer for the University of Louisville men’s team, is the district (48.75 seconds) record holder in the Div. II 100-yard butterfly.
Quallen’s 47.95in the 100 fly at the 2013 state meet was knocked off the top spot by Cody Bybee of Bellbrook who went 46.97 to establish not only a new overall state and state tournament record, but a new Branin Natatorium pool record.
Quallen won state titles in the 100 fly in 2013, the 100 backstroke in 2013, the 200 free in 2011 and 2012. He was second in the 100 fly in 2012 and in the 500 free in 2011. His 2013 100 backstroke time of 48.92 seconds was a state record at the time. That mark was broken last season.
On Friday, Bybee also broke the pool record in the 200 freestyle event. Joe Hudepohl, a Cincinnati St. Xavier High School legend, set the pool record in 1991.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports
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