Club teammates win two titles apiece at high school state swim meet

Centerville’s Nicola Lane won two championships Saturday at the Division I state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton. CONTRIBUTED

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Centerville’s Nicola Lane won two championships Saturday at the Division I state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton. CONTRIBUTED

Nicola Lane wasn’t expecting much from her 100-yard backstroke race.

“I was exhausted,” the Centerville High School senior said.

There was good reason as Lane had just won the endurance-testing 500-yard freestyle event in 4:47.23, a body length ahead of second-place finisher Grace Hastings of Anderson (4:48.84). And there was just one event in between before she would swim in the backstroke final.

“I hugged my teammates and coaches and got back in the water to warm up,” Lane said.

Minutes later, Lane climbed to the top of the podium for the second time after a first-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke (54.71). Springboro senior Maggie Clough was close behind, finishing second in 55.15.

“I don’t sprint much, so I wasn’t expecting to win,” Lane said. “I think I was still high on adrenaline after the 500.”

Lane wasn’t the only local swimmer who earned a pair of Division I state titles at the OHSAA High School Swimming and Diving Championships last week as Springboro junior Hannah Hill also left the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton with two titles.

Hill, 16, posted wins in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events with times of 23.04 and 50.15, respectively.

“The past two years, I could tell that nerves got to me,” Hill said. “I’ve been working for this all season and it’s great to see that hard work pay off.”

Lane and Hill have more in common than being two-time state champs as they are club teammates, both swimming for the Mason Manta Rays. Several of the Manta Rays swimmers left Canton with state titles, including Lakota East senior Jacob McDonald, who won both the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events.

“I was happy for myself, but I was beyond happy for my teammates,” Lane said, smiling.

And while the high school season is officially over, both Hill and Lane are back in the pool preparing for a club meet this weekend.

“Winning at state has motivated me for the future,” Hill said. “This isn’t a stopping point.”

Hill isn’t one to rest on her laurels as the Panthers swimmer is considering switching to the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke next season.

“I feel like I checked off a box, winning the 50 and 100,” she said. “I like a bit of a challenge and want to experience other races.”

Lane, 17, will also experience challenges as she will compete for the University of Tennessee in the fall.

One for the record books: Waynesville senior Owen Conley did more than win the boys D-II state title in the 200-yard individual medley, he raised the bar. Owen's time of 1:47.52 is a new state record in the event. Conley also finished third in the 100-yard backstroke (50.02).

Top teams: While it didn't have any individual state champions, the Beavercreek boys posted the best team finish among area schools, finishing fourth in the D-I boys rankings. The Springboro girls posted the top finish among the D-I girls at sixth.

Area state champions

Division I


50-yard freestyle – Hannah Hill, Springboro, :23.04

100-yard freestyle – Hannah Hill, Springboro, :50.15

500-yard freestyle – Nicola Lane, Centerville, :4:47.23

100-yard backstroke – Nicola Lane, Centerville, :54.71


200-yard freestyle – Jacob McDonald, Lakota East, 1:37.62

500-yard freestyle – Jacob McDonald, Lakota East, 4:22.75

Division II


200-yard freestyle – Luke Paxton, Badin, 1:39.16

200-yard individual medley – Owen Conley, Waynesville, 1:47.52

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