Motored by a sweep in diving and a trio of top-three finishes in the pool, the Solon girls captured the Division I sectional swim title on Saturday at the Spire Institute in Geneva.
Solon senior Tara Fitzgerald won the 1-meter springboard competition with an 11-dive score of 450.2 points to lead a one-two-three-four showing by the Lady Comets that also included freshman Alex Ludgate, 435.8 points, junior Abby Wilkov, 430.25 points, and freshman Bethany Mercer, 416.15 points.
That domination spotted the Solon girls a 56-point lead on defending champion Chardon, which was enough cushion to win their first sectional swim banner since 2016.
Behind top swim performances from freshman Grace Perlberg and sophomore Bridget Ferris, the Lady Comets scored 361 points to dethrone Chardon, 338 points, while Shaker Heights took third with 277 points and Mentor was fourth with 270 points in the 14-team field.
Perlberg finished third in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:00.46, while Ferris finished 10th in 2:05.66 and freshman teammate Ava Shaker was 12th in 2:07.08 to advance to district competition in that event.
Perlberg also took third in the 500 freestyle in 5:25.93, while Shaker was seventh in 5:38.23 and senior teammate Moraine Jackson was 11th in 5:51.44 to advance to districts.
Although Solon had a 56-point lead entering the swimming portion of the meet, the Chardon girls made up that deficit and actually owned a five-point lead on the Lady Comets entering the second-to-last event – the 100 breaststroke.
But Solon put forth a three-four-five finish from Ferris, 1:14.20, junior Alexis DiMatteo, 1:15.13, and freshman Lilly Olpin, 1:15.29, to outscore the Lady Hilltoppers by 40 points in that event and create enough separation heading into the 400 freestyle relay.
The Chardon girls won the 400 freestyle relay in 3:41.37, while Solon’s quartet of Perlberg, 56.18 seconds, DiMatteo, 57.83, freshman Hannah Jones, 59.64, and Shaker, 58.41, clocked a 3:52.06 to finish fifth.
Individually, Jones took fifth in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.15, while sophomore teammate Irene Chang took ninth in 1:05.02 to qualify for districts.
In the 200 individual medley, Solon posted a five-six-seven finish from freshman Niya Fried, 2:23.48, Jones, 2:24.15, and Chang, 2:24.96.
Fried also punched her ticket to districts in the 100 backstroke by finishing ninth in 1:06.54.
And the Lady Comets’ 200 medley relay of backstroker Perlberg, 29.25 seconds, breaststroker Ferris, 33.37, butterflier Jones, 28.20, and freestyler DiMatteo, 26.39, clocked a 1:57.21 to finish third and advance.