Boardman’s Bailey in familiar position

CANTON – Boardman High School senior Ryan Bailey is familiar with this spot.

He was here after last year’s Division I 100-yard butterfly state preliminaries, but took third place at the state swim meet.

Friday, he again is in first in the event after clocking 48.92 seconds. He is far ahead of Peter Simcox of St. Ignatius (49.88).

“I was in the same position last year,” Bailey said. “I have experience being in this position. Ultimately the difference between last year and this year is I’m not worried about it at all.

“My mind isn’t even on the race. I’m just focusing on recovering and being ready to go.”

The focus wasn’t on the physical aspect.

“Comparing last year to this year, I’m much more mentally strong,” Bailey said. “That gives me confidence.”

He has the fifth-best time in the 100 breaststroke (57.17). Hudson’s Ross Palazzo has the top time heading into today’s finals (54.99). The Division I finals begin today at 4 p.m., at the C.T. Branin Natatorium.

Both the 100 butterfly and breaststroke times on Friday are new school records.

The top eight in each event move on to finals, while those ninth through 16th get into the consolation finals today.

“I was expecting to be top eight,” Bailey said of the breaststroke. “Fifth is great. There’s a lot of great breaststrokers in the state of Ohio to compete with. I’m pretty happy with that. I’ll swim tomorrow and see what happens.

“If I have a pretty good time in that, I’ll be happy.”

It wasn’t such a fun time for Warren G. Harding sophomore swimmers Dylan and Emily Thirion.

Dylan took 24th in the 100 freestyle (48.18).

“He wasn’t looking for that at all,” WGH coach Steve Lukco said. “This is a big meet and it’s tough sometimes. There’s a lot of pressure on these kids to perform. They set their expectations for themselves as well.

“When it comes time for them to go, I think the nerves get the best of them.”

A swimoff got the best of Emily in the 100 butterfly. She was bested by Ashley Whiteley of Springboro after the two swam 58.39 in prelims. Thirion did move up from 21st place, where she was seeded prior to Friday’s prelims.

She tied for 20th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.13).

“By that time, we knew she wasn’t going to make it in the breaststroke,” Lukco said. “I told her, ‘It’s you against her. You’ve got to win.’ She swam a great race. The swimoff was much better than the prelims.

“If she would’ve swam that earlier, we would’ve have to worry about a swimoff.”

It was a good experience for Emily, who competed in her first state swim meet.

“It’s a good swim, good experience for her,” Lukco said. “First time being here, we want them be swimming here tomorrow. Sometimes, that’s how it works out.”

Meanwhile, Boardman’s girls 200 freestyle relay finished 22nd (1:41.16) and the 400 freestyle relay was 23rd (3:41.75).