Findlay High School’s boys swim team has been making up ground on Toledo St. Francis.
But Findlay coach Tim Lauth knows catching the Knights is going to be a very tall order.
“St Francis is by far the powerhouse in TRAC swimming and one of the top teams in the state,” Lauth said as he prepared his swimmers this week for the 2013-14 Three Rivers Athletic Conference championships to be held Friday (diving) and Saturday at Hawk-Bucci Natatorium at Fremont Ross High School.
St. Francis, which has won 47 district championships since 1966 and consistently placed among the top five Division I teams in the state meet, almost lapped the field in the 2012-13 TRAC meet, finishing with 827 points. Findlay was second with 451.
A year ago, Findlay narrowed that gap between first (741) and second (533) considerably. But Lauth knows the format of the TRAC meet, which allows a school to enter six rather than four swimmers in each event, is perfectly suited for a team that has the tradition and numbers that St. Francis has.
“Due to the number of eligible swimmers per event in the TRAC meet, their depth makes an even greater impact,” Lauth said.
Findlay’s girls were fourth in the first TRAC swim meet, moved up to third last year and will likely be battling Toledo Notre Dame for a top-three spot this season.
“The battle for third place should be a lively one,” said Lauth, who cited a talented Fremont Ross team and a deep Toledo St. Ursula squad as the pre-meet favorites.
“We lost to them (Notre Dame) by only a few points in a dual meet this season. It was a meet we could have won, minus a few mistakes, so if our girls swim well I’m confident in our ability to give them a great meet.”
Despite St. Francis top-to-bottom depth in the boys meet, Findlay does have a returning TRAC champion in Justin Hopkins. The sophomore freestyler made an impressive debut in his first TRAC championship, winning both the 200 (1:49.55) and 500 (4:56.76) freestyle events as a freshman.
Tucker Stocker (200 free, 100 fly), Jeremy Wilson (50 free) and Ross Stansbery (100 free, 100 back) will also be looking to challenge for individual titles, along with a strong corps of swimmers in the 100 breaststroke that includes Graham Copus, Jacob Kreinbrink and Spencer Evans.
Findlay will also make a strong showing in the relays as Lauth looks not only to the TRAC championships, but sectional, district and state competition as well.
“We’re swimming a strong lineup of relays,” Lauth said. “The lineups are very close to what we will swim in the championship season coming up.
“Depending on individual times, relay members can fluctuate from meet to meet. For the championship season the fastest swimmers will make the relays, all with the objective of giving us the best opportunity to make it to the state meet and score.”
Sophomore Laura Wilson, who was third in two events and swam a leg on the runner-up 200 free relay along with junior Octavia Homka and sophomore Kendra Wadding, returns to lead Findlay’s girls team.
Individually, Wilson (100 fly, 100 back), Wadding (100 fly, 100 breast), Hannah Clinger (200 IM, 100 breast), Kaila Butterworth (50 free, 100 free) and Rachel Zelinsky (100 breast) have posted some of the TRAC’s top times in their specialties.
Bethany Glick will be looking to claim her first TRAC title in diving. The FHS senior, a three-time state qualifier, was league runner-up in 2012 and again in 2013, when she was second to teammate Kyah Fleckner.
Caleb Aho, Marquis Ramsey and Chris Wohl head up a strong contingent of FHS divers in the boys meet.
The TRAC diving competition will be held Friday at Fremont Ross. Swimming events will be held on Saturday.
The Trojans tuned up for this weekend’s TRAC championships by celebrating its Senior Night at Sink Natatorium Wednesday night and sweeping dual meets from Kenton and Tiffin Calvert.
The boys team won every event, swept the top three places in three and rolled to dual-meet wins over Kenton (132-42) and Tiffin Calvert (146-8). The FHS girls posted a 116-66 win over Kenton and topped Calvert 122-47.
Kenton beat Calvert head-to-head, 88-12 in the boys scoring and 103-57 in the girls meet.
Senior sprinter David Jorge won the 50- (25.1) and 100-yard (56.23) freestyles and senior Graham Copus was first in the 200 IM (2:18.04) and 500 free (5:48.12) in the boys portion of the meet.
Ross Stansbery (200 free, 200 medley relay), Jacob Kreinbrink (200 medley relay, 100 fly) Grant Weickert (100 back, 400 free relay) and Jeremy Wilson and Luke Taylor (200 medley relay, 400 free relay) were also double winners for the Trojans.
Laura Wilson had a hand in three first-place efforts for Findlay’s girls team.
Wilson won the 100 backstroke in 1:04.43 and teamed with Hannah Clinger, Kendra Wadding and Kaila Butterworth to win both the 200 medley (1:59.88) and 200 free (1:47.83) relays.
Wadding won the 100 fly (1:04.70) and Clinger the 500 free (5:34.44). Rachel Zeklinsky was also a two-time winner, finishing first in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.01) and in the 400 free relay (4:12.04) with Octavia Homka, Angelica Gray and Hannah McClellan.
FINDLAY 116, KENTON 66
FINDLAY 122, TIFFN CALVERT 57
KENTON 103, TIFFIN CALVERT 57
200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1, Findlay (Laura Wilson, Hannah Clinger, Kendra Wadding, Kaila Butterworth) 1:59.88. 200 FREE — 1, Corrine Harris (TC) 2:02.65. 200 IM — 1, Audrey Miller (Fin) 2:34.95. 50 FREE — Katie Tiell (TC) 27.69. DIVING — 1, Bethany Glick (Fin) 270.80. 100 FLY — 1, Wadding (Fin) 1:04.70. 100 FREE — 1, Harris (TC) 56.73. 500 FREE — 1, Clinger (Fin) 5:34.44. 200 FREE RELAY — 1, Findlay (Butterworth, Clinger, Wadding, Wilson) 1:47.83. 100 BACK — 1, Wilson (Fin) 1:04.43). 100 BREAST — 1, Rachel Zelinsky (Fin) 1:18.01. 400 FREE RELAY — 1, Findlay (Octavia Homka, Angelica Gray, Hannah McClellan, Zelinsky) 4:12.04.
FINDLAY 137, KENTON 42
FINDLAY 146, TIFFN CALVERT 8
KENTON 88, TIFFIN CALVERT 12
200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1, Findlay (Jeremy Wilson, Luke Taylor, Jacob Kreinbrink, Kaleb Scott) 1:58.51. 200 FREE — 1, Ross Stansbery (Fin) 2:01.27. 200 IM — 1, Graham Copus (Fin) 2:18.04. 50 FREE — 1. David Jorge (Fin) 25.16. DIVING — 1, Caleb Aho (Fin) 255.15. 100 FLY — 1, Kreinbrink (Fin) 1:03.70. 100 FREE — 1, Jorge (Fin) 56.23. 500 FREE — 1, Copus (Fin) 5:48.12. 200 FREE RELAY — 1, Findlay (Stansbery, Je. Wilson, Justin Hopkins, Tucker Stocker) 1:32.64. 100 BACK — 1, Grant Weickert (Fin) 1:03.40. 100 BREAST — 1, Spencer Evans (Fin) 1:05.89. 400 FREE RELAY — 1, Findlay (Jacob Wilson, Trent Shaffer, Taylor, Weickert) 4:01.11.