by Lauren Redfern
Championships. That was the theme for the Golden Eagles at the state Swim and Dive finals in Canton over President’s Day weekend in February. The Bellbrook Swim and Dive program has been making a splash at the state meet for the past few years. This year the team performed better than ever. The team had 4 swimmers and 1 diver qualify for the state competition. Justin Boreman represented the Golden Eagles on the diving board. Boreman also qualified individually for the Cross Country State championship. Boreman was seeded 23rd entering the meet. He would later claim the 18th spot in the state. At the winter sports awards, the dive coach awarded Boreman the MVP award.
After Boreman’s performance on the diving board, all Golden Eagle supporters switched their attention to the pool in which they cheered on Senior Henry Wong (4 year Varsity) and Juniors Cole Huggard, John Sampson, and Cody Bybee. To start off the state meet, all four boys swam in the 200 Medley Relay. In the prelims, they swam a new school record time of 1:35.54. This performance seeded them second for finals.
The next day the boys became State Runner Ups in the 200 Medley with a time of 1:35.66. This foursome was not done, however. After being seeded 4th for the 400 Free Relay, they found themselves 3rd on the podium with a time of 3;09.66. Bybee set a new 100 free lead off record with a time of 43.78. The records did not stop there though. Bybee, who was setting school records in the prelims, was only giving a taste of what he was capable of for the following day.
Bybee, already a common name in the swim world, continued to make his name known. Diving off the blocks seeded #1 for the 200 Free, made him heavily favored. Bybee also won the event last year. But, what he did next left the entire natatorium in awe. Bybee swam a state record time of 1:34.55. The previous state record holder was Joe Hudepohl of St. Xavier in Cincinnati (D1 School). Hudepohl is best known for being an Olympian, and Bybee was not in the talk for breaking the 26-year-old record. For most, a state record and championship would be great, but not for Bybee. He came back to defend his 100 Butterfly State title, which he won last year. He was also heavily favored in this race, and showed everyone why. He swam a 46.97 to break the 10-year-old pool record and state record. Bybee was awarded Swimmer of the Meet for his incredible performance. Bybee, only a junior, still has the opportunity to stand on the podium next year to defend his 2 titles won back to back.
Bellbrook found themselves taking two state champs home that day. Fellow junior John Sampson was determined to bring home a state title as well. Like Bybee, Sampson swam two individual events. He placed 7th in the 100 Free with a time of 46.70. Sampson was not done. Being favored in the 100 back after being the runner up last year, he set a school record time of 49.93 and found himself on top of the podium with the medal reading State Champ. Junior Cole Huggard kept the day going by placing 13th in the 200 IM with a time of 1:59.08.
The Golden Eagles capped of the meet with a 4th place finish. This is the highest Bellbrook Swim has ever finished. Their 4th place finish also makes them the highest placing public school in the state. With 3 of the 5 boys returning next year, the future for Bellbrook Swim and Dive looks very bright.