CANTON - The pressure could have been overwhelming for Notre Dame Academy swimmer Katie Carroll.
The Eagles senior was the defending champion in the girls DivisionI 50-yard freestyle event at the Ohio State Swimming and Diving championships here. She was also the top seed after preliminaries. Carroll ended the race the same way she started with a record-breaking swim in the sprint event with a time of 23.56 seconds.
“I'm very relieved,” Carroll said. “It's nice to get this one out of the way because as the defending champion you have that pressure in the back of your head. You always think, `What if I lose?'”
Losing isn't something Carroll is accustomed to. The Eagles senior has raked in six state championship titles in her three-year high school swimming career, three of them in the 50-yard freestyle. She can add to that total today when she swims in the 100-yard freestyle and both the 200 and 400-yard freestyle relays.
“This win definitely gets the meet off to a good start,” she said.
Carroll wasn't the only Notre Dame swimmer to make an appearance on the awards podium last night. And, while it wasn't the top spot, Susan Johnson didn't mind a bit.
“Second is as good as first to me in this event,” Johnson said with a smile.
The Eagles senior placed second to perennial state champion Whitney Myers of Cincinnati Ursuline Academy in the DivisionI 100-yard butterfly. Myers broke her own state record of 54.08 with a time of 53.89. Johnson finished second with a time of 55.56.
While Johnson is no newcomer to the state meet, butterfly is relatively new to the Eagles swimmer. “It's my first year swimming high school butterfly,” Johnson said. “But it was something new and I was getting better so I thought why not.”
w Double duty: Sandusky Perkins senior Dan Wohl advanced to the championship heat in both the 200-yard free- style and 200-yard individual medley events. Wohl earned his best finish in the IM as he placed fourth with a time of 1:52.58. The Perkins senior placed seventh in the 200 free- style in 1:41.35.
The Perkins girls also made a trip to the podium as the relay team of Brie Henning, Sara Carver, Jessica Wohl and Melanie Burns swam to a third-place finish in the girls DivisionII 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:52.90.
w Born to fly: Beth McDaries of Wauseon finished fourth in the DivisionII 100-yard butterfly in a time of 59.69. The Indians sophomore is among the favorites in the 100-yard backstroke today. And she joined teammates Caitlin Gruenhagen, Leah McElrath and Brittany Dominique to finish fifth in the 200 medley relay yesterday.
w Top teams: There were few surprises on the team leader board after the first day of competition.
Defending champion St. Xavier held a commanding lead in the boys division with 141 points, almost twice as many as second-place Upper Arlington's 77. The highest-ranked area team was 14th-place St. Francis de Sales with 28 points. Perkins trailed by only a point at 15th.
Ursuline Academy led the girls DivisionI field with 139 points, while Notre Dame Academy closed out the first day of competition in seventh place with 49 points.
Gates Mills Hawken jumped out to a big lead in the girls DivisionII competition with 163 points to Cincinnati Indian Hill's 93. Perkins led the local teams with 57 points, good enough for fourth place.