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Three relay teams dunk swim records
Three relay teams dunk swim records
By TONY LANGE
A meet with five records still unbeaten from the 1970s, the 40th annual swimming of the Chagrin Valley Invitational Relays last Saturday fulfilled its expectations and then some.
With a pool-record book now having extra protection from a rule change last year, some observers suggested that the invitational should start a new book, because the old marks would be too hard to beat. The rule changed from relays with four dive starts to relays with two dive starts and two in-the-pool push-off starts. State regulations prohibit dives in less than 4 feet of water, which applies to the Chagrin Falls pool's shallow end.
The Solon Recreation Center and Hunt Club had a different perspective. By sundown, Solon Rec stamped its name into the old books twice, and Hunt Club did it once.
Terrence Wong and Chris Marquiss paired up for both of Solon Rec's record-breaking relays. In the first, they teamed with Kari Koeberle and Margaret Eppright on the mixed open butterfly relay with two girls and boys and no age limit, bettering the previous record by 0.42 second. Hunt Club placed second in that relay, also bettering the previous record by 0.08 second.
On their second record breaker, Wong and Marquiss teamed with Kyle McMahon and Dan Telljohann to break the previous record set by Solon Rec in 2006 by 1.37 seconds in the open freestyle relay for boys with no age limit. The Hunt Club again was runner-up, beating the 2006 record by 0.3 second.
The Hunt Club did get a record of its own in the mixed open backstroke relay with two girls and two boys with no age limit. The team of Alex Vereshchagin, Sam Mossman, P. Pinchot and Gretchen Hestley broke a 1994 record by 0.82 second.
No records were set by the home team, but Chagrin Rec's performance was no surprise to those who follow the meet regularly.
Tarps, tents, fold-up chairs, sleeping bags and canopies caught a few sprinkles of rain during preliminaries in the cool morning weather, but that didn't dampen the host Chagrin Valley Recreation Center team's domination of first-place finishes during finals in the evening. By the day's end, Chagrin Rec captured gold in 15 of the 37 events this year, topping last year's display of 12 triumphant relay teams. However, four fewer swim teams dove into the water this year.
Thirteen area teams competed in the relays, bringing a total of 517 swimmers and 534 relay entries. Swimmers were limited to five events each. The day's relays included seven backstroke, six breaststroke, eight medley, six butterfly and 10 freestyle events, all 133.33 yards long, which adds to the uniqueness of the meet.
The rules are set up so that every relay team has four swimmers who each swim one length each of the 100-foot-long pool located on the Chagrin Falls upper school campus. Depending on the event, swimmers must match up according to combined age, gender mixture and limited year-round competitor restrictions, making for a fun atmosphere and one-of-a-kind meet.
Chagrin Rec, which entered the most competitors with 137 and the most relays with 125, boasted a total of 37 swimmers taking home gold medals on its 15 winning relays.
Leading the way were 9-year-old Mackenzie Lurch and 13-year-old Ben Vandertill, who swam to victory in four relays each. Lurch's gold-medal races included the backstroke, breaststroke, medley and freestyle for girls with ages adding up to 42. Vandertill's golds included the medley, butterfly and freestyle for boys with ages adding up to 54 and no more than two winter swimmers. His fourth win came in the mixed freestyle relay with two girls and two boys with ages adding up to 48.
Chagrin Rec also had a foursome of triple event winners, including a pair of 8-year-olds, Jaden Yon and Shannon Staley, who teamed up for golds in the backstroke, medley and freestyle relays for swimmers 8-and-under with any combination of gender. Austin Quinn, 14, took golds in the medley, butterfly and freestyle for boys with ages up to 54. Anne Moyse took golds in the mixed breaststroke and freestyle with ages up to 48 and the girls breaststroke with ages up to 42. Chagrin Rec also had eight double event winners.
A repeat of 2008, the Landerwood team finished second in the gold-medal count this year with five victories. Three of them were captured by 11-year-old Brandon Gotlieb in the boys age 42 breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle relays. Landerwood also had four double event winners, including Cameron Tamjidi, 11, Kingsley Bowen, 13, Julian Semenora, 11, and Ben Wigginton, 8. Also, Landerwood's Daniel, Dan, Hillary and Trevor Rockey won gold in the open family freestyle relay.
Third in the gold-medal count was Solon Rec, which won four events. Joining Wong and Marquiss as double event winners were younger sisters Annie Marquiss, 17, and Anna Wong, 13, who teamed up for victories in the girls age 54 butterfly with Rebecca Hoffman and Aurelia Sweeney. They also were teamed with Eppright and Koeberle to win the girls open freestyle.
The Chagrin Valley Athletic Club was one of two teams to win three events. They all came during the first seven relays, which were backstroke. Leading the way as double event winners were 12-year-olds Danny O'Sickey and Mike Jeromin in the boys backstroke up to age 42 and the mixed 48 backstroke with two girls and two boys.
Hawthorn had 12 single event winners to capture three relays. The Wembley Club won the family medley relay with a team of Ryan Gieske, 12, Jaclyn Gieske, 16, Jason Sacash, 19, and Jason Sacash, 22. Lake in the Woods, Four Seasons and Bainbrook-Laurel Springs also added one victory each.
Thirty-four of the 37 gold-medal relays swam just as fast as or faster in evening finals than in the morning preliminaries. Many relays bettered their morning times by several seconds. Dubbed "sandbagging," relay teams that know they are fast enough to make finals sometimes wear baggy suits and reserve their energy during their preliminary swims and return for finals with much faster times, often taking opponents by surprise.
There were five upsets this year, when the fastest seeded team in the finals did not win gold. Chagrin Rec accounted for two of those upsets, and Lake in the Woods, Four Seasons and Hawthorn had the other three.
The closest race of the day came in the girls freestyle ages up to 54 with two or fewer winter swimmers. Bainbrook-Laurel Springs edged Chagrin Rec by 0.09 second.
The largest margin of victory came in the boys butterfly ages up to 42 with two or fewer winter swimmers. Landerwood's team left its nearest competition, Chagrin Rec, behind by 16.9 seconds.
In the final race of the day, a special event added to the list last year for the not-so-young competitors, a freestyle relay with a minimum age restriction of 160 years, was won by the Chagrin Rec team of Bob Rathbone, 38, Ann Harmody, 40, Steve Girouard, 41 and Ken Juergen, 42.
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