AKRON — All swimmers care about at this time of year is reaching goals.
After winning the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division, Brunswick’s girls team is just getting started with what it wants to accomplish.
While a championship can sometimes make a team lose a little of the fire that got them the title, it has only made the Blue Devils stronger as they prepare for the Akron Division I Sectional meet that opens today.
“The team as a whole has been very focused on their taper for themselves and for their teammates,” Brunswick coach Erin Crabtree said. “We’ve been doing a lot of times swims at practice, and they know each other’s times and that each kid is getting faster each day.
“If someone is just a little off at practice, they are very encouraging to pick that person up for the next set.”
The Blue Devils have six individuals seeded in the top 10, along with a 200-yard freestyle relay that is ranked fourth.
Junior Lizzy Gehlmann is ready to go after breaking her school record in the 100-meter free (54.50) in the team’s final regular-season meet.
Gehlmann is seeded fourth in the 100 free coming into Saturday’s competition, along with having the third-fastest time in the 50 free. She also swims the anchor leg on the 200 free relay which includes Nicolette Crissinger, Melissa Froncek and Hannah McCulloch.
“Lizzy has been swimming very strong the second half of the season,” Crabtree said. “Her times are great going into sectionals and her focus is right where it should be to accomplish what she wants.”
McCulloch (7th, 200 free) and Crissinger (10th, 50 free) also are ranked high in the sprint events. Mikayla Dostall and Lauren Oktavec are sixth and ninth,
respectively, in the 100 backstroke, while Jenna Vance has the seventh-quickest 100 breaststroke.
Medina’s Samantha Petruzzi has the eighth overall time in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, while Carolyn Yurkoski and Sarah Cuppett are top-10 seeds in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke, respectively.
In the boys North Division meet, Medina’s Tim Varrelmann and Brunswick’s Jake Pavlisin are focused on making return trips to the district meet. Varrelman and Pavlisin have the fifth- and sixth-fastest seed times in the 100 free.
Varrelmann is third overall in the 200 free with a 1:47.99, while Pavlisin is looking to get out in the 50 free, an event in which he is seeded fourth.
Medina’s Matthew Rump (7th, 100 breaststroke) is looking to continue a strong season, along with newcomers Ryan Neubauer (9th, 500 free) and Joseph Huang (9th, 100 back).
Like Varrelmann and Pavlisin, Cloverleaf’s Adam Goodreau is poised to make a return trip to the Cleveland State District Meet.
The All-Gazette selection has the second-best time (55.98) in the 100 butterfly behind Nathaniel Allen of GlenOak (54.97).
But Goodreau, who also is fourth in the 200 free, has proven that he can rise to the occasion.
“It’ll push him,” Colts coach Mike McGee said. “Like at Suburban League, all the times were close and he ends up winning by 2½ to 3 seconds.”
Like Goodreau, Wadsworth’s Ellie Surratt has put together quite a season.
The sprinter has the third-best time in the 50 free (24.59) and the fourth-fastest in the 100 free (55.46).
A handful of other Grizzlies come in with strong chances to continue their seasons, as Matt Pavlik (200 IM, 100 breaststroke), Bryce Easterling
(100 free), Jake Braumbaugh (500 free, 100 back) and Kim Stafford (200 free, 500 free) each have top 10 seed times.
Cloverleaf’s Josh Butt has the ninth-best 100 free — an event in which he posted a personal-best 52.3 last month at the SL championships.
“He’s gotten a lot stronger and has been working on the little things,” McGee said. “After swimming a 52, he’s been very determined. If he gets in the 51 (second) range, he should advance.”
Highland’s club team also will be participating for the first time. It is led by Bree Stacho, who is the Hornets’ highest seed (22nd) in the 100 butterfly.
The area also has several individuals representing schools outside of the county.
Medina residents Abby Draiss and Sarah Reilman, along with Brunswick native Samantha Geyer will swim for Walsh Jesuit, while Shannon Cahalan of Medina will compete for Firestone in the D-I North Meet.
In the D-II meet at Akron, Walsh’s Joey Reilman (Medina resident) and CVCA Morgan Burnell (Medina) are expected to compete.
At the Lakewood D-II Sectional, Buckeye’s Sarah Turner is slated to compete in the 50 free and 100 back.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.