Dan DiSalle of St. Francis celebrates after winning the 50-yard freestyle at the Division I state swimming meet in Canton. DiSalle also captured the 100 free championship, helping the Knights to a third-place finish.
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CANTON -- The St. Francis de Sales swimming and diving team finished third on Saturday night in the Division I state meet at C.T. Branin Natatorium.
The Knights scored 195 points to finish just behind Upper Arlington's 198 points. Cincinnati St. Xavier came away with another title with 297.5 points to extend their consecutive championship reign to four. St. Xavier has now won 33 Division I team titles, including 13 of the last 14.
St. Francis senior Dan DiSalle won two state titles, using his coaches, teammates, and family as encouragement.
PHOTO GALLERY: Ohio Division I State Swimming Championships
"There was talk about a family curse. My cousin Mike [last year's 200-yard freestyle winner] was the first in the family to win an individual state title. He said it was my turn to keep the curse away," DiSalle said.
DiSalle came through, winning the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.98 and the 100 freestyle in 45.58. He was gracious to everyone who has helped him.
"I want to thank my family, teammates, and coaches. I wouldn't want to have spent the last four years with anyone else."
Senior Matt Zimmerman also came away happy with his individual efforts as he produced a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle (1:38.67) and fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:32.41). Zimmerman set a school record in the 200-yard freestyle.
"I'm happy about my performance because last year I was ranked pretty high and I didn't place as well. This year I was able to turn that around," Zimmerman said.
The Knights were the defending champions in every relay but failed to win any this year. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of senior D.J. MacDonald, sophomore Nick Brodie, junior Connor Trimble, and DiSalle were disqualified after a member left too early. The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Zimmerman, sophomore Jack DiSalle, junior Connor Trimble, and Dan DiSalle finished second with a time of 3:05.19. The 200-yard medley relay also finished second (1:33.08). Brodie anchored that relay after Zimmerman, MacDonald, and sophomore Jack Barone swam the first three legs.
MacDonald placed fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (1:52.70) and third in the 100-yard breaststroke, while Trimble placed eighth in the 50-yard freestyle (21.48).
Knights coach Keith Kennedy walked away happy with his team's performance. "Our guys had an awesome meet," Kennedy said. "It doesn't always turn the way you think it will. To beat the best, the stars have to align up sometimes. I told my team they did their best, and you can't ask for anything else."
Findlay junior Dietrich Hinesman also had a day to remember, placing sixth in the 50-yard freestyle.
On the other side of the Division I meet, senior Rachael Dzierzak placed third in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.89) for Notre Dame. Dzierzak also placed ninth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:05.26).
Zhada Fields finished ninth in the 100-yard backstroke (57.05) for St. Ursula. Teammate Emmy Sehmann, a freshman, finished 10th in the 500-yard freestyle (5:04.59). Fremont Ross' Haley Fisher, Laura Duncan, Sammi Miller, and Megan Hawk placed ninth in the 200-yard medley relay (1:48.09). Duncan was 10th in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.25).
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