By Joe Ostrica
The Westlake boys and girls swimming and diving teams had a strong showing at last weekend’s Southwestern Conference championship, held at the Westlake Recreation Center. The boys placed second with 230 points, trailing only Amherst (268), but beating out Brecksville (third, 176.5), North Olmsted (fourth, 168), Olmsted Falls (fifth, 163), Avon Lake (sixth, 144), Berea (seventh, 124.5) and Midpark (eighth, 121).
The Lady Demons saw their seven-year league title winning streak end after a fierce battle with Brecksville, winners with 353 points. Westlake’s girls finished with 313 points for the runner-up post, placing ahead of Berea (third, 187), North Olmsted (fourth, 174), Olmsted Falls (fifth, 151), Amherst (sixth, 119), Avon Lake (seventh, 97) and Midpark (eighth, 1).
“I’m really happy with how the girls swam today,” Westlake head coach Jessica Dye said. “We knew going in it was going to be a tough meet. The girls in our relays, and just about everybody, dropped in their times. Our kids really showed up today and tried their best.”
Westlake junior Nora Lee had a big day for the Lady Demons, winning the 100 butterfly with a career-best time of 1:02.12 for her first SWC title. Teammate Ana Ivkovic finished second with a time of 1:02.32.
“I’m very happy with it,” Lee said. “That’s my best time ever. I didn’t expect to win. I knew my teammate Ana and (Brecksville junior) Claire Savage were going to be tough competition, so I’m really happy with how I finished.”
Lee also placed third in the 200 free (2:05.53), behind Brecksville’s Paige Coughlin (2:01.90) and Olmsted Falls senior Bridget Liddy (2:04.48). Lee was also part of Westake’s second-place-finishing 400 freestyle relay team (3:53.33), along with teammates Lauren Choban, Ivkovic and Olivia Prexta. Olmsted Falls’ relay team placed third with a time of 3:58.99.
Westlake also had two divers finish in the top three, including senior champion Sammie Sposet, who finished with 434.90 points. Junior teammate Julie Solarz placed third with 296.30 points.
North Olmsted sophomore Jacky Jarachovic took first place in the girls 50-yard free with a time of 25.67, edging Amherst’s Miranda Mlincek (25.85).
“It was really important for me to win that race,” Jarachovic said. “I worked really hard for that and was looking forward to winning that race. The time is a little slower than what I would have liked, but I’m sure hopefully I’ll get it back down to 25.2, which is where I was last week.
“It feels so great to get my first SWC championship. I was happy and proud of myself to get that. One of my goals for the season was to win the 50.”
North Olmsted junior Megann Ott finished first in the 100 free with a time of 56.57, beating out Westlake senior Lauren Choban (second, 57.24) and Olmsted Falls junior Joan Dregalla (third, 57.30). Ott also helped her team’s 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay teams to second-place finishes.
“I was really excited that I got first in it,” Ott said. “I’ve been working hard a lot this season. Hopefully it all pays off with sectionals and districts in the next two weeks. I’m looking to get first in sectionals in the 100 free again, place again in the 100 back and try to score in districts.”
Liddy finished first in the 500 free for Olmsted Falls with a time of 5:33.05. Dregalla took second in the 200 IM (2:22.16). North Olmsted sophomore Kara Foraker finished third (2:22.49).
Westlake’s Dye is hoping her team can carry its strong performance into the sectionals and beyond.
“The 100 fly was a great race for our team, going one and two there,” she said. “Nora Lee and Ana Ivkovic did really well. In the backstroke we had Lauren Choban at second, Megan Duffy at fourth and Izabela Jamsek at sixth, so that was another one that helped our team. Our team did well stepping it up in the relay events. Our seniors kept our teammates’ spirits up and made it close.
“Everybody’s goal is to make it down to the state meet. Hopefully some of the girls can have strong sectionals and make it out of districts after that.”
Westlake senior Sean Phillips was the lone member of the boys squad to win an SWC title, taking first in the 500 free (5:15.88). Olmsted Falls senior Greg Porch came in third with a time of 5:29.93. Phillips also placed second in the 200 free (1:55.66), followed by North Olmsted senior Peter Serio (third, 1:57.01).
Westlake’s 200 medley relay team of Joe Knurek, Troy Stevens, Keith Astler and Alex Lamorgese placed second with a time of 1:46.54. Knurek finished third in the 200 IM (2:14.55).
The North Olmsted boys won the 200 free relay. Serio, Kenny Urbanek, Mark Becks and Ryan Sara led the Eagles with a time of 1:35.16. North Olmsted diver Steven Davis placed third with 301.75 points. Sara placed third in both the 50 free (23.52) and the 100 free (52.78).
Olmsted Falls junior Aidan Burton placed second in the 100 backstroke (56.45) and third in the 100 butterfly (58.87). Sophomore teammate Jake Bolton took third in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.78).