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The Tallmadge girls 200-yard freestyle relay team broke the seven-year-old school record Feb. 10 at the Akron Division II sectional swimming and diving meet at the University of Akron's Ocasek Natatorium.
The team of sophomore Maddie Parry, freshmen Emma Grund and Isabelle Davis and senior Alyssa Yamokoski finished ninth with a time of 1 minute, 55.36 seconds.
The girls qualified for a Division II district competition, which was scheduled for Feb. 17 at Cleveland State University's Busbey Natatorium. Results were not available at press time.
"They're our first girls relay team to advance to districts in three years," Tallmadge head coach Ryan Miller said. "That, combined with setting the school record, is just amazing. I'm proud of each and every one of them. It's a great start and experience for the three underclassmen to grow and build on over the next couple years."
The 1-meter diving portion of the district meet took place Feb. 15 and Lady Blue Devil sophomore Miranda Sally had automatically qualified.
Overall at the sectional meet, Tallmadge finished in a tie with Alliance Marlington for 20th place out of 27 teams with 26 points.
Bay Village Bay won the competition with 315 points and Orrville and Elyria Catholic tied for second with 202 points.
Although they did not qualify for districts, sisters Shayla and Angelina Norris turned in terrific performances.
Shayla, a senior, finished with a personal-best time of 6:53.74 in the 500 freestyle.
"Shayla swam with pure pride, achieving a goal she's had for more than three years," Miller said. "Nothing makes you happier as a coach than seeing the look on your athletes' faces when they accomplish something they've been working on for so long."
Angelina, a freshman, finished with a time of 1:15.28 in the 100 backstroke.
"As soon as Angelina finished, I had a huge smile on my face, not only because she dropped her time but because I know how much potential she has," Miller said. "I can't wait to see her develop even more next season."
As for the boys team, Tallmadge finished 10th out of 25 teams with 104 points.
Rocky River won the competition with 256 points. Canfield placed second with 245 points and Revere took third with 190 points.
"It's not easy coming into a season after losing so much senior talent, but the guys accepted the challenge and displayed pure determination," Miller said. "They had some jaw-dropping swims and kept a tradition of excellence in our program."
District qualifiers were senior Keith Oyler, juniors Ryan Riter and Kyle Wilbur and sophomores Nick Sabetta, Alex Krukemeyer and Jarod Shumaker.
Sabetta finished sixth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 58.15.
"Nick blew past his goal of breaking one minute," Miller said.
Oyler placed seventh in the 100 backstroke, clocking in at 1:02.02.
"Keith amazed me," Miller said. "We spoke beforehand and I knew he was ready to go. All of the training came down to one moment and he stepped up and gave it everything he had."
In the 200 individual medley, Krukemeyer finished 10th with a time of 2:19.6.
Riter was 12th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:57.5. He also automatically qualified for districts in diving.
"Ryan swam his heart out and had a solid swim," Miller said.
Riter teamed with Oyler, Krukemeyer and Sabetta to finish sixth in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:36.16.
"Ryan's 52.06 split helped put us in a great position at the district meet," Miller said.
Oyler, Riter, Sabetta and Wilbur combined to place seventh in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:50.32.
Oyler, Krukemeyer, Shumaker and Wilbur combined to finish 10th in the 200 freestyle relay, clocking in at 1:40.33.
"Kyle pumps himself up and just lets the adrenaline take over," Miller said. "The sophomore class of Nick, Alex and Jarod displayed the true future of Tallmadge boys swimming. Goals were achieved and dreams became a reality.
"Alex is one of our hardest workers and it just shows how much it paid off. I'm proudest of Jarod for his performance in the 100 backstroke in which he swam a 1:06.42 and just missed the district cut."
Freshman Andrew Nelson and sophomore Cole Neupert also performed admirably.
"Andrew had an outstanding swim in the 200 freestyle, dropping 14 seconds," Miller said. "I've never seen as much potential in a freshman as I see in him. With his goals and work ethic, he has a bright future.
"I also have high hopes for Cole. Swimming a 2:07 in the 200 freestyle was a major accomplishment when you look at where he started just three months ago."
All district qualifiers in swimming aimed to advance to the Division II state meet, which is set for Feb. 22 to 25 at Canton McKinley High School's C.T. Branin Natatorium.
As for Riter's and Sally's district diving performances, Riter finished eighth, earning all-district acclaim. Sally finished 19th.
"Ryan fared very well," Miller said. "He had some solid dives. His score increased from last year and he's added a lot more dives to his arsenal. I look forward to seeing what he does next year when he'll be a lot more comfortable.
"This was Miranda's first year diving and she has come a long way. It takes a lot just to get to that point. So for her to be able to compete at that level her first year says a lot about her training and her potential in the next couple years."