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The Suburbanite
  • Bulldogs make splash at sectional meet

  • Having the words “history-making” and “best in school history” attached to a game or meet usually isn’t too shabby.

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  • Having the words “history-making” and “best in school history” attached to a game or meet usually isn’t too shabby.
    The Green girls swimming team registered both designations for their performance at the Akron Division I South sectional meet, placing third with 237 points and sending six swimmers to the district meet in Cleveland.
    Jackson claimed the sectional title with 358 points.
    The 200 freestyle, 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays all qualified for the district meet, along with multiple individual-event performers.
    “We had some great, historic swims and a lot of firsts and seconds,” Green coach Mike Lazar said. “It was the best finish in our history.”
    The third-place finish was the best in program history, with the previous top finish being 10th place.
    Junior Kennedy Herbert turned in a standout effort for the Bulldogs, winning the 200-meter individual medley in a time of 2:11.44 and the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:05.79, setting a sectional record in the event. Herbert was also a member of the 400 freestyle relay team that qualified for the district meet.
    Along with Herbert, other swimmers who qualified for the district meet included senior Autumnn Merrill (200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay), junior Katie Kussow (200 and 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay), freshman Natalie Rohweder (200 medley relay, 100 breast stroke and 200 IM) and sophomore Hailey Jenkins (100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle relay). Jenkins has season-best times of 56.78 in the 100 free and 1:02.55 in the 100 backstroke.
    Miriam Blaine, who helped the 400 freestyle relay to its best time of 1:44.63, will also swim at the district meet. Kussow also had a personal best of 5:26.93 in the 500 freestyle. She was edged out for first place by Canton McKinley’s Marissa Buckley by .68 seconds.
    Lazar, in his 11th season in charge of the program, has presided over the squad since its inception and credited the team’s seniors with being the primary reason the Bulldogs not only had their best-ever showing at the sectional meet, but also captured their second Suburban League championship in the league meet at Wooster last month.
    “Our seniors are goal setters. They set goals and go after it in the pool and they’re willing to be leaders, lane leaders in the pool and they have goals written on their mirrors,” Lazar said. “When they accomplish those, they come up with better times to go after, whether it’s a personal record, a school-best sectional time or getting to states. The best thing the seniors did was not be complacent.”
    Lazar also pointed to the success of the Green Barracudas, a youth swimming program at the Green YMCA, as an important link in the chain of preparing swimmers for the varsity level. He also noted the willingness of the team’s veteran members to approach students in the hallways and encourage them to consider coming out for the team.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It’s a combination of a lot of different things, but really it’s a testimony to the swimmers on the team, because they reached out to other kids in the hallways and talked to them and said, ‘Hey, would you consider coming out for swimming?’ and this year, we had 52 on our varsity and junior varsity combined,” Lazar continued. “That’s the most swimmers since I became coach 11 years ago.”
    Armed with the confidence from their sectional meet outing, their 8-4 regular season and 5-1 league records and league title, the Bulldogs now look to rein in their next goal: sending as many swimmers as possible to the state meet in Canton and making a splash once they get there.