Hubbard High School senior Joey Spurio had to wait to see if he would make it as an at-large swimmer to the state meet in the 100-yard butterfly.
That was last year.
This season, Spurio took out the guesswork in clocking 51.99 seconds - a new school record - at Friday's Division II district swim meet at Cleveland State University. He beat Painesville Harvey's Jeremy Preston (52.36) for the district title.
The top two in each event automatically advanced to state. The next fastest 24 individuals and 14 relays in each event from the districts around the state go to the state meet at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. The Ohio High School Athletic Association announces at-large berths later this weekend.
"It's surreal to think I'm district champion in the 100 fly," Spurio said. "I initially enjoyed the stroke and started doing it more. I really never imagined I would take it to that level."
Ursuline senior John Tomko was in a similar circumstance with Spurio last season, sitting on two fifth-place finishes in the 200 and 500 freestyle events in 2012 - waiting to see if he got an at-large bid.
This season, Tomko took out any doubts, like Spurio. He placed second in both events Friday - swimming some of his fastest times of the season.
In the 500, Hawken's Henry Senkfor barely beat out Tomko, 4:43.11 to 4:43.19.
"I dropped 10 seconds," Tomko said. "It's huge drop in any event."
Hawken's Micah Simpson beat out Tomko in the 200, 1:41.65 to 1:43.93.
"Started off not necessarily as fast as I did at sectionals," Tomko said. "I felt I was more or less coasting at the beginning of the race and had more energy to bring back at the end. I was pretty pleased and think I could swim even faster next week."
Canfield's 200 freestyle relay of sophomore Connor Brady, seniors Mike Cardone and Nicholas Montalto and junior Daniel Bogan finished second (1:28.34) - .20 seconds behind University School.
Speaking of the Cardinals, Spurio took seventh in the 200, behind Bogan (1:47.73).
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to maybe make it in the 200 freestyle. I enjoyed the experience of being able to swim in the districts in general," Spurio said.
"I look forward to swimming at state if it happens. If it doesn't, I'm satisfied how I swam it today."
The Division I district competition is today, starting at noon.
OTHER AREA RESULTS: Montalto was fifth in the 100 freestyle (47.98) and sixth in the 50 freestyle (22.17). Brady was fifth in the 100 backstroke (53.92) and in the 100 butterfly (52.84). ... Hawken's Elijah Spiro beat out Brady in a swim-off after the two tied with 52.84 in the initial race. ... Canfield's 400 freestyle relay, the same ones who were on the 200 freestyle relay, placed third (3:14.05). ... Youngstown Christian's Mikayla Morrow was sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.66). ... Only the top six results in each event were available at press time.
CORRECTION:?In Wednesday's Division II district diving competition, Girard's Savanna Teter finished sixth with 329.40 and advanced to state. The top six advanced to state.
Poland's Celia Melillo took eighth (305.90), while teammate Nicolette Kreatsolous was 10th (295.80).