Swimming: Oakwood girls like their chances at district

One of the more anticipated district swimming races is the 500 free with top-seeded senior Margaret Berning (pictured) of Fairmont and No. 2 Nicola Lane, a sophomore from Centerville. Berning’s time of 5 minutes, 1.48 seconds edged Lane’s effort by .87 seconds at sectionals.
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One of the more anticipated district swimming races is the 500 free with top-seeded senior Margaret Berning (pictured) of Fairmont and No. 2 Nicola Lane, a sophomore from Centerville. Berning’s time of 5 minutes, 1.48 seconds edged Lane’s effort by .87 seconds at sectionals.

Prior to the Division II girls sectional swimming meet, Oakwood High School coach Audrey Martin was optimistic.

After the D-II sectionals? She was ecstatic.

Oakwood qualified 11 to the D-II district championships Friday at Miami University’s Corwin. M. Nixon Aquatic Center. The top two finishers in each event automatically qualify for next week’s state meet and the 16 fastest times from the district meets also advance.

The D-II boys meet starts at 10:45 a.m. Friday and the D-II girls follow at 5:45 p.m. The D-I boys meet starts at 10:45 a.m. Saturday with the D-I girls at 5:45 p.m.

“Better than expected and I think of the 11 that qualified we’ll have eight or nine qualify for state,” Martin said.

It’ll also give Oakwood a good run at defending district champ Cincinnati Mariemont. Mariemont won last year’s district meet with 274 points. Oakwood was second with 241.5. Those were the only two teams to surpass 200 points.

“The girls want to beat them. They want to get in there,” Martin said. “The girls definitely have a chance and they’re eager to get in the water.”

Senior Juliana Chen leads a strong list of state-qualifying contenders as the swimmer to beat in the 100-meter breaststroke. Chen’s sectional time was the best in the Southwest District and gave her the No. 1 seed entering district.

It’s a strong 100 breast field with Springfield Catholic Central sophomores Addie Engel and Bridget Engel, ranked No. 2 and 4, respectively. Miami East’s Meredith Richters is No. 3.

Chen is also ranked No. 3 in the 100 butterfly.

“She is great under pressure. She has a great attitude and she’s a great swimmer so she’ll do fine,” Martin said.

Also for Oakwood, senior Madeline Kenyon is seeded No. 3 in the 100 freestyle and No. 4 in the 100 backstroke. Junior Sam Auditore is No. 3 in the 200 free and No. 5 in the 500 free. Isa All is No. 2 in the 200 individual medley.

Kenyon, Chen, Auditore and All also comprise the 400 free relay team that’s seeded No. 2.

Other high-seeded D-II swimmers to watch include: Bethel senior Eiliana Wright (No. 1 in 100 fly, No. 7 in 200 free); Tri-Village freshman Lucie Morris (No. 2 in 50 free, No. 5 in 100 back); Carroll junior Emily Sullivan (No. 2 in 100 fly); Arcanum junior Isabella Gable (No. 2 in 200 free, No. 3 in 100 back); Waynesville senior Kierstyn Cassidy (No. 3 in 500 free, No. 5 in 200 free); Brookville junior Emma Swabb (No. 4 in 100 free); Chaminade Julienne senior MacLeary Moran (No. 4 in 200 free, No. 6 in 500 free) and Alter sophomore Katie Lair (No. 4 in 500 free, No. 4 in 200 IM).

In Division I, one of the more anticipated races is the 500 free with top-seeded senior Margaret Berning of Fairmont and No. 2 Nicola Lane, a sophomore from Centerville. Berning’s time of 5 minutes, 1.48 seconds edged Lane’s effort by .87 seconds at sectionals.

“I think it can be a really good race,” Centerville coach Steve Hippenmeyer said. “Berning is a veteran swimmer and she’s kind of been a fly (competitor). She ran into some back injuries and had to give up the 100 fly. She picked the 500 up like she’s been doing it her whole life. It’s neat to see a good athlete like that be so versatile in no matter what she swims she’s near the top.

“(Lane) was the top freshman distance swimmer at state last year. … She’s just a warrior. When you put her in a big meet situation she swims big. She’s just that kind of girl.”

Centerville junior Lauren Lampe is also top-seeded in the 100 breast. Lane is also No. 3 in the 100 back and junior Pruitt Walther is No. 3 in the 200 IM.

Springboro has a pair of top seeds in freshmen Hannah Hill (50 free) and sophomore Maggie Clough (100 back). Hill is also No. 6 in the 100 free and Clough is No. 5 in the 200 IM.

Beavercreek sophomore Peyton Farrell is No. 1 in the 100 fly. She’s also No. 7 in the 200 IM. Sophomore teammates Kaitlyn Bacik (No. 3 in 100 free, No. 7 in 200 free) and Namie Edge (No. 6 in 100 breast, No. 6 in 200 IM) are also swimmers to watch.