GAMBIER — Mount Vernon High School’s swim teams easily won the Small School Invitational at the Kenyon College Athletic Center on Saturday.
With 234 combined points, the teams outdistanced a field of 10 other schools led by Tri-Valley (85 points), Central Crossing (76.5) and West Muskingum (56).
For the Yellow Jacket girls, the victory was even more lopsided as they put up 127 points. Second-place Central Crossing only managed 43 points.
Mount Vernon’s Tate Devlin teamed up with Samantha Williams, Caroline Caldwell and Emily Miglin to take first in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:06.23.
In the girls 400-freestyle relay, Devlin and Williams combined with Lindsey Studebaker and Kate Klesner to finish first, completing the race in 4:14.76.
Devlin also notched an individual win (2:11.85) in the 200 freestyle. Teammate Alaina Mahn was third with a 2:26.09.
Devlin placed second in the 100 butterfly (1:15.75) as she and her teammates, Klesner (first, 1:11.85) and Studebaker (third, 1:17.68) swept the top three spots.
Caldwell (first, 27.38), Miglin (second, 28.78) and Klesner (third, 29.26) also swept in the 50-yard freestyle.
Caldwell also placed second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:00.17, and combined with Miglin, Mahn and Studebaker to finish first in the 200-freestyle relay, swimming it in 1:55.86.
Haley Bisesi-Adkins (1:20.96) and Sierra Hunt (1:23.22) took the top two spots in the girls 100 breast stroke. Lauren Woolson, who was a scratch earlier in the day, won the first heat of the girls 100 breaststroke. This was no small feat for Woolson, who never swam breaststroke in competition and only got last minute “how-to” training right before the race.
“I learned how to do breaststroke 30 minutes before the race,” said Woolson. “I got first, so that was exciting. My coaches did a good job, obviously. One of the girls on the team, her mom said that I was born to do it and I got put in the 100. It didn’t even tire me out. My upper body hurt for a little bit and then it was OK.”
Kayla West managed to hang up a couple of PRs in the girls effort, placing first in the 200 individual medley (2:44.24).
“I dropped a second in my 200 [individual medley] and my 50 freestyle, and I beat everybody and it was exciting,” said West, who said she enjoys the support of her teammates. “We have a really big sophomore group and we collaborate well together. We’re all best friends. It’s really important. I know we have rivalries, but we all love each other in the end and that really helps us as a team.”
Woolson wasn’t the only one trying something different. Johnson Cochran, who normally swims the breaststroke for the boys, placed second (1:05.62) in the 100-yard backstroke. Austin Jamieson was third (1:07.42).
“I just decided to swim the backstroke for once,” said Cochran. “I don’t get to swim it that often. I swam it some in Y-Team, but not in high school, usually.”
The boys effort was no less convincing than the girls, as their 107 points topped second-place Tri-Valley, which had 72 points for the day.
Ian Richardson, Mike Johnson, Cochran and Gavin Rundell were first in the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:47.23. Richardson (2:10.69) and Rundell (2:16.63) also grabbed the top two spots in the 200 individual medley, and were first (5:14.24) and second (5:18.91) in the 500 freestyle.
Richardson and Rundell, along with Jamieson and Allen Sant, were first in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing in 3:36.41. Johnson, Andrew Clarkson, Andre Dessert and Tyler Mundy were third with a 4:37.21.
Sant was third in the 50 freestyle, finishing in 24.80. He was also third in the 100 freestyle with a 54.62.
Cochran, Jamieson and Sant, along with Chase Ledin, finished with a 1:39.74 to place second in the 200-freestyle relay.
Jeremy West was second in the 200 breaststroke, finishing with a 1:12.29.
“There were quite a few PRs today, primarily because we were swimming events that we don’t normally swim,” said Mount Vernon coach Jeff Gottke. “We try to give the kids a chance to diversify in their strokes a little bit and see what they can do with other strokes, even if they are not necessarily ones that they prefer. [Cochran] was a big surprise for us. We know he’s great at breaststroke and reliable at freestyle, but to see him do backstroke so well was encouraging. [Lauren] didn’t quite feel comfortable and we had to take the time to show her how to do the breaststroke before the beginning of the race. She did pretty well. It’s good to see girls step up like that.”
This tournament provides the smaller schools an opportunity to swim in a first-class facility, which makes this meet exciting for them — win or lose.
“[The KAC] is a palace,” said Gottke. “We are grateful to Kenyon College for allowing us to do this. Some of the coaches from the other teams were saying that this is a really big deal to them. They really look forward to this every year. We didn’t do it last year and they were disappointed. They were really excited we were hosting it this year and they got to come back and swim in this pool.”