Waynesville’s Conley, Alter’s Lair take top times into state swim championships

Audrey Conley, Waynesville swimming
Audrey Conley, Waynesville swimming

Swimming fit the bill for Waynesville’s Audrey Conley.

“I don’t like being sweaty and I don’t like running,” she said, smiling.

But the competitive sophomore definitely likes swimming and it shows as the Spartans sophomore seems to prefer water to dry land, choosing to compete in endurance-testing distance events. Conley does more than compete – she wins. The 16-year-old has the top time in the state in the 500-yard freestyle event (4:58.78) heading into the OHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships this week.

“I definitely feel some pressure,” Conley said. “I know I’m really going to have to push myself.”

Conley isn’t the only Division II swimmer with a target on her back as Alter senior Kate Lair posted the fastest time statewide in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.19) at the district meet. The Knights senior – who committed to swim at Xavier – is making her fourth trip to the state meet.

“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

When: Thursday-Saturday

Schedule

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

Info: www.ohsaa.org

Top 10 Times

Miami Valley swimmers with district times in the top 10 statewide

Girls

Division I

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

Division II

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

Boys

Division I

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

Division II

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