The Solon boys came two points shy of defending their throne, while the Lady Comets showcased their freshman standouts during the eight-team Greater Cleveland Conference championship on Saturday at Cleveland State University’s Busbey Natatorium.
The team banner for the boys came down to the final event, with the Comets owning a four-point lead against Strongsville entering the 400-yard freestyle relay. But the Mustangs’ quartet clocked a triumphant 3:18.58 in that race to take the team trophy from Solon, 445 points to 443 points.
Solon’s 400 freestyle quartet of junior Ryan Gross, 50.65 seconds, sophomore Henry Tavens, 48.74 seconds, junior Isaac Shaker, 50.86 seconds, and senior Denis Gorbachev, 51.51 seconds, stopped the clock at 3:21.76 to finish runners-up in that relay.
In the girls competition, Strongsville defended its team title in runaway fashion with 528 points, while the Lady Comets scored 344 points to finish runners-up, after they were fifth during last year’s league meet.
Overall, the Solon boys came away with three individual champions and a relay victory, while the Lady Comets crowned one individual champ.
Solon’s 200 medley relay of sophomore backstroker Blake Ellman, 28.23 seconds, sophomore breaststroker Victory Perez-Reyes, 27.45 seconds, butterflier Shaker, 25.03 seconds, and freestyler Gross, 21.82 seconds, won gold in 1:42.53.
In the boys 200 freestyle, Tavens clocked a triumphant 1:47.18, besting Medina senior Dominick Bottoni by 1.4 seconds, while Solon’s Ellman finished third in 1:51.22. Tavens’ performance ranks 11th among Division I swimmers in the Northeast District so far this season.
In his other individual event, Tavens took third in the 100 freestyle in 49.27 seconds.
In the boys 100 backstroke, Gross claimed victory in 55.93 seconds, besting Shaker Heights junior Matt Schiavone by 1.2 seconds. That performance ranks Gross 12th in the district.
Also, Gross took third in the 50 freestyle in 22.54 seconds.
Cleaning up on the 1-meter springboard, meanwhile, Solon senior Jackson Salisbury captured gold with an 11-dive score of 485.6 points, which is ranked first in Ohio this season, while Shaker Heights sophomore Ezra Dykema was runner-up with 430.75 points, Solon senior Josh Schwartz took third with 408.5 points and Solon sophomore Patrick Burke took fifth with 388.55 points.
During the girls 1-meter springboard competition, the Lady Comets put together a one-two-three sweep with senior Tara Fitzgerald, 424 points, junior Abby Wilkov, 403.2 points, and freshman Alex Ludgate, 384.8 points. Fitzgerald and Wilkov own the best 11-dive scores in Ohio this season, while Ludgate has the fourth-best score in the state.
Leading the Lady Comets in the pool, freshman Grace Perlberg finished runner-up in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.46, coming just 0.16 second shy of Strongsville junior Ryley Mayberry.
Solon sophomore Bridget Ferris finished third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:13.13.
Solon freshman Ava Shaker took fifth in the 500 freestyle in 5:36.07.
Solon freshman Hannah Jones was fifth in the 100 butterfly in 1:02.00, while sophomore Irene Chang won the consolation heat in 1:05.50, which was the sixth-fastest time of the meet. In her other event, Jones took sixth in the 200 individual medley in 2:20.50.
And Solon junior Alexis DiMatteo finished sixth in the 200 freestyle in 2:05.98. In addition, DiMatteo won the consolation heat of the 100 freestyle in 57.64 seconds, which was the fifth-fastest time of the meet.
The Solon girls had their best relay performance in the 200 medley, with backstroker Perlberg, 28.51 seconds, breaststroker Ferris, 33.20 seconds, butterflier Jones, 28.03 seconds, and junior freestyler Rilie Szach, 26.34 seconds, finishing runners-up in 1:56.08.
Back in the boys competition, Gorbachev took third in the 200 individual medley in 2:05.45, while Perez-Reyes was fourth in 2:07.48.
In the 100 breaststroke, Gorbachev took fourth in 1:02.51, while Perez-Reyes was fifth in 1:03.27.
In the 500 freestyle, Ellman finished third in 5:04.60, while Solon junior Andre Yazhbin was sixth in 5:32.53.
And in the boys 100 butterfly, Shaker finished fourth in 56.33 seconds.