The Delaware Hayes girls did well for themselves during Friday’s Division I State Swimming Championship in Canton, qualifying for the finals in a pair of events after competing in a school-record five different races.
“The girls were wonderful ambassadors for Pacer swimming,” Hayes coach Bill Rietz said. “It will be a special Saturday for Pacer swimming with the two swims as it will mark the highest point total by a Pacer girls team.”
The 200-medley relay quartet of Jessica Ward, Brittany Puthoff, Lindsey Norris and Regan DeWitt, who entered as the seventh-seeded foursome thanks to a stellar showing at last week’s district meet, lived up to he high seed with a seventh-place finish (1:48.28) in preliminary action — an effort more than good enough to make them the first Pacer relay team to qualify for a state final in school history.
Ward, who competed in four events over the course of the day, the most by a Pacer in program history, was also a standout in individual action. She earned the squad’s other finals qualification, advancing to the “B” final of the 100-yard butterfly with a 15th-place performance while just missing moving on in the 100-yard backstroke.
Ward entered as the 19th seed in the butterfly with a district time of :57.59 and is finals bound despite finishing a fraction of a second slower in Thursday’s prelim, closing in :58.19. She entered the backstroke prelims as the 19th seed, too, but just missed the top-16 cutoff by closing 19th in a time of :58.59.
In other action, Puthoff, who qualified for the showcase as the 24th seed in the 100-yard breaststroke, moved up a spot to 23rd with an effort of 1:07.97.
The Pacers’ 400-freestyle relay foursome (Samantha Curtin, Ward, DeWitt and Puthoff) also missed finals qualification, but barely. The group finished 19th, improving on its district seed (seeded 20th) with a time of 3:39.59 — a mark .95 off its school-record performance at districts.
Liberty’s Olivia Bently was also in action, competing as the Patriots’ lone individual qualifier in swimming events. She did well for herself, too, finishing 17th in the 100 breaststroke — one spot out of finals qualification — with an effort of 1:06.73. She entered the event as the 21st seed.
The finals are set to begin today at 4 p.m. at C.T. Branin Natatorium. The Division I diving finals, featuring Liberty’s Olivia Ball (second seed in 1-meter diving with seed score of 482.85) Alexandra Clay (third seed) and Brittany Menninger (fourth seed) will be held today at 9 a.m.