“It’s been my dream to win state,” Lair said. “But now that I’ve committed, it’s definitely not as stressful – I can have fun with it. I have a ton of good friends who swim, so I’m just excited for good competition.”
Conley and Lair will be among the first swimmers in the pool as swimming gets underway Thursday with Division II girls and boys preliminaries at 5 p.m. Division I competitors will swim their prelims on Friday.
For Lair, this year’s meet marks the end of one chapter of her swimming career and the beginning of another.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” she said. “I really like high school swimming, but I’m so excited to swim in college.”
From a neighborhood swim club to the Dayton Raiders, Lair, 17, has steadily moved up the ranks. Her best state finish, to date, is fourth in the individual medley last year.
Like Lair, Conley got her start in summer swimming and is also a member of the Dayton Raiders. She placed third last year in the 500-yard freestyle and knows the competition will be tough this week as both the first and second-place state finishers from Hawken are returning. That could actually help the Spartans sophomore.
“It’s easier to push myself if someone is close to me,” she said. “But this season is a little different because, last year, I tapered more for districts and, this year, I’m tapering more for state.”
Both swimmers agree that there is nothing like the deafening cheers of the packed crowd in the C.T. Branin Natatorium.
“It gets you so excited,” Conley said. “The crowd really gets your adrenaline pumping.”
OHSAA State Swimming & Diving Tournament
Where: C.T. Branin Natatorium, Canton
Thursday – 9 a.m.: Girls D-I diving preliminaries, semifinals & finals; 5 p.m. - Girls & boys D-II swimming preliminaries
Friday – 9 a.m.: Girls & boys D-I swimming preliminaries; 5 p.m.: Girls & boys D-II swimming finals
Saturday – 9 a.m.: Boys D-I Diving preliminaries, semifinals & finals; 4 p.m.: Girls & boys D-I swimming finals
Top 10 Times
Miami Valley swimmers with district times in the top 10 statewide
200-yard freestyle – 6. Abby Woolford, Beavercreek, 1:50.50
200-yard individual medley – 8. Katie Fisher, Lebanon
50-yard freestyle – 6. Hannah Hill, Springboro
100-yard freestyle – 2. Hannah Hill, Springboro
500-yard freestyle – 1. Nicola Lane, Centerville; 5. Abby Woolford, Beavercreek
100-yard backstroke – 2. Nicola Lane, Centerville; 10. Abby Susec, Springboro
200-yard freestyle – 7. Audrey Conley, Waynesville, 1:53.59
200-yard individual medley – 1. Kate Lair, Alter, 2:04.19
50-yard freestyle – 9. Sydney Jones, Kenton Ridge, :24.19
100-yard butterfly – 4. McKenzie Reid, Chaminade Julienne, :56.47; 8. Anna Baker, Fenwick, :56.77
500-yard freestyle – 1. Audrey Conley, Waynesville, 4:58.78; 10. Julia Quinn, Carroll, 5:06.59
100-yard backstroke – 9. McKenzie Reid, Chaminade Julienne, :58.84
100-yard breaststroke – 3. Bridget Engel, Springfield Catholic Central, 1:03.83; 7. Kate Lair, Alter, 1:04.66
200-yard freestyle – 3. Dillon Edge, Beavercreek
200-yard individual medley – 4. Jason Allen, Beavercreek; 6. Nate Holty, Beavercreek
100-yard freestyle – 10. Michael Rine, Beavercreek
500-yard freestyle – 5. Nate Holty, Beavercreek
100-yard breaststroke – 9. Dillon Edge, Beavercreek
200-yard freestyle – 9. Evan Blazer, Kenton Ridge
200-yard individual medley – 2. Owen Conley, Waynesville; 5. Calvin Wise, Greenon
50-yard freestyle – 3. Matt Brunsky, Butler; 4. Pierce Katai, Miami Valley
100-yard butterfly – 6. Calvin Wise, Greenon
100-yard freestyle – 2. Pierce Katai, Miami Valley; 3. Matt Brunsky, Butler; 10. Evan Blazer, Kenton Ridge
500-yard freestyle – 2. Sam Campbell, Oakwood; 8. Preston Troyer, Legacy Christian
100-yard backstroke – 2. Owen Conley, Waynesville; 4. Sam Campbell, Oakwood; 8. Luke Campbell, Carroll