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Published: Sunday, 2/28/2010

Zuch repeats as swimming champ


CANTON - Napoleon senior Samantha Zuch successfully defended her titles in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events yesterday in the Division II swimming and diving championships at the C.T. Branin Natatorium.

"It's really amazing," Zuch said. "I can't even put it into words how excited I am. I just wanted to come here and have a good time."

Zuch finished the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:48.38, four seconds ahead of second place Katie Joseph of McDonald. She won the 500 free with a time of

4:53.50, more than seven seconds ahead of second place Carrie Bencic of Gates Mills Hawken.

Zuch improved on both of her winning times from a year ago and was the only senior to compete in the championship round of the 500 freestyle.

Like last year, Zuch led the 500 freestyle by half a pool length going into the home stretch.

"I was nervous all weekend. I got in there and swam my own races and it ended up being a good outcome," Zuch said.

Zuch also competed in the 200 medley relay with freshman Mackenzie Garringer and sophomores Erika Vocke and Chandler Ashbaugh and the 200 freestyle relay with Garringer, Vocke, and sophomore Jesse Sworden. Napoleon won the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:36.95.

"I think all of us were just thinking that we really wanted to win it, "Zuch said. "We're all really nervous and we just tried to stay focused."

Napoleon finished third in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:48.29 behind Columbus Bishop Hartley and Gates Mills Hawken. The top three teams were separated by .27.

Garringer placed second in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.74, just over a second out of first place.

Napoleon finished the state championships tied for third in total points with Sandusky Perkins at 149. Gates Mills Hawken finished in first with 333.

Otsego senior Michael Cavanaugh placed sixth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:44.37 and finished second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 46.92, just .29 seconds out of first place.

"I went out there and swam hard," Cavanaugh said. "It's been a great experience."

Port Clinton sophomore Mackenzie Stewart surprised herself by winning the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:05.94. She finished third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04.05.

"I would have never imagined I would win the 200 [individual medley]," Stewart said. "Before winning the 200 IM I would have thought I would have won the 100 breaststroke. Being able to win, the whole thing was really exciting."

Stewart also competed in the 400 freestyle medley with juniors Ashley Zoeller and Allie Reynolds and sophomore Erin Smith.

"The more years you are here, the easier it gets and the less nerve-wracking it becomes," Stewart, a second-year state participant, said. "Hopefully, next year it will be a little bit more relaxing."

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