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Swim relays overcome new challenges
Swim relays overcome new challenges
The 39th annual swimming of the Chagrin Valley Invitational Relays last Saturday took some new directions. But when the gold medals were added up at the end of the meet, it was just like old times for the host Chagrin Valley Recreation Center team, which won 12 of the 37 events.
Seventeen teams participated in the relays, bringing a total of 593 swimmers and 588 relay entries.
For the first time, relay members starting in the second and fourth slots at the shallow end of the 100-foot-long pool on the Chagrin Falls upper school campus had to begin in the water, instead of from the customary dive. The adjustment follows state regulations that prohibit dives in less than 4 feet of water. It also adds several seconds to the finishing times and provides extra protection to the old record books.
That did not dampen the fun atmosphere of the meet, which offers swimmers at various skill levels the opportunity to compete in relay events not found elsewhere. Not only does the invitational feature four-member relays for each of the four swimming strokes plus the standard medleys, but it includes various age structures and a mixture of genders.
However, some of the fun was tempered by what was described by longtime participants as an extraordinary number of disqualifications. In all, 50 relay teams were ousted by officials in the morning preliminaries for a variety of infractions that previously were overlooked in a meet that purposely limits the number of year-round competitors. Fully 8.7 percent of the relay teams were knocked out of the competition without the opportunity to advance to the evening finals.
The Chagrin Valley Recreation Center team, which entered the most competitors with 131 and the most relays with 115, also had the most disqualifications with 14. Despite the officials' zealous scrutiny, the host team boasted a total of 28 swimmers taking home gold medals on its dozen winning relays.
Leading the way was 12-year-old Ben Vandertill, who swam to victory on all four of his relays. They included the backstroke and medley relays for boys with ages adding up to 54, the boys medley relay with ages up to 42 and the mixed butterfly relay with two girls and two boys and ages up to 50.
The Landerwood team, which was second in the gold-medal count with eight victories, was led by two four-event winners, 7-year-old Ben Wiggington and 8-year-old Madison Gotlieb. The pair teamed up for golds in the mixed 8-and-under backstroke, freestyle and medley relays. Wiggington added a victory in the mixed free relay with ages adding up to 48, while Gotlieb took her fourth win in the girls free relay with ages adding up to 42.
Chagrin Rec had a trio of triple winners, including team coach Dan Binder, 18, who took golds in the mixed open backstroke and breastroke and the boys backstroke with ages up to 54. Mary Motch, 11, posted wins in the girls medley with ages up to 54, the girls medley with ages up to 42 and the mixed butterfly with ages up to 50. Austin Quinn, 13, collected gold medals in the boys medley with ages up to 54, the boys fly with ages up to 42 and the mixed fly with ages up to 50.
Chagrin Valley Athletic Club was one of three teams to win three events, and 11-year-old Mike Jeromin was part of all of them. Those victories came in the mixed backstroke with ages up to 48, the boys freestyle with ages up to 54 and the boys freestyle with ages up to 42.
Landerwood's Ben Wiggington was one of several 7-year-olds to capture gold medals. One example of the meet's uniqueness came in the winning mixed medley relay for ages up to 48, when he teamed with 15-year-old Thomas Fellowes and a pair of 13-year-old girls, Madeline Kinkopf and Hannah Ballock.
A similar age differential came in Chagrin Rec's winning boys backstroke relay for ages adding up to 54, with the 18-year-old Dan Binder being joined by 10-year-old Jason Quinn, along with Ben Vandertill, 12, and Dan Wolfe, 14.
This year's meet also had something special for the not-so-young competitors in the finale event, a freestyle relay with four swimmers whose ages added up to at least 160. Solon Recreation captured that gold medal with Samantha Telljohann, 21, Brad Pinchot, 46, Phil Wintering, 49, and the oldest winner of the day, 51-year-old Pat Telljohann.
The Hunt Club's Ryan, Grant, Blake and Brad Pinchot won the family medley relay, while Landerwood's Trevor, Dan, Hillary and Drew Rockey won the family freestyle relay.
The closest race of the day came in the boys medley relay with ages adding up to 42. Chagrin Rec's Jason Quinn, Joe Bistritz and Ben and Tim Vandertill touched just 0.01 second ahead of the second-place team from the Wembley Club, Brady Pearlstein, Henry Watson, Andrew Badertscher and Tucker Harvey.
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