Following last week’s Central District Sectional tournament, nine Mount Gilead High School varsity swimmers advanced to the Ohio High School Athletic Association Central/East/Southeast District Championship meet, held at The Ohio State University on Feb. 14. To qualify for the meet, swimmers must finish in the top thirty in their event out of the combined Central District’s Sectional meets held at the Columbus Academy, Athens, and Steubenville. The MGHS qualifiers and the events they qualified in were:
200 yard medley relay – Elly Herr, Erin Zmuda, Brianna Snow and Alexis Hinkle.
100 yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke- Erin Zmuda.
200 yard freestyle relay - Erin Zmuda, Brianna Snow, Alexis Hinkle and Elly Herr.
200 yard freestyle relay – Kyle Landes, Aaron Evans, Logan Conrad and David Kamyar.
400 yard freestyle relay – Alexis Hinkle, Elly Herr, Brianna Snow and Courtney West.
In addition to coaches, officials and spectators, the natatorium was packed with swimmers from 69 schools as they took to the water to prepare for the competition. The day got off to good start for MGHS with the medley relay of Elly Herr, Erin Zmuda, Brianna Snow, and Lexie Hinkle setting a new school record with a time of 2:11.61 and finishing in 18th place.
Next up was freshman Erin Zmuda in the 100 yard freestyle, which she finished in 57.43 seconds. This time not only lowered her own school record, but was also fast enough to land her on the medals podium with an 8th place finish. “It was an agonizing couple of minutes for Erin as she walked back to the bleachers. She could see she finished eighth in her heat and was told by another swimmer she thought she just missed the podium due to another swimmer having a faster time in the previous heat. Lincie Hinkle, who was assisting Coach Snow, had read off the times and believed Erin was eighth overall. This contradiction was causing everyone on the MGHS team to bite their lips and wring their hands while awaiting the official standings. Once the announcement was read, and she realized she did make the podium, Erin leapt up and hugged her coach and friends as she went to the podium to receive her OHSAA District Medal. Erin is the first MGHS swimmer to make the podium in the time I have coached the team. I was so happy for her! She has worked very hard and I applaud her for this achievement,” said coach Brad Snow.
The momentum carried into the 200 yard freestyle relays, in which the relay of Zmuda, Snow, Hinkle, and Herr broke their school record and finished in 16th place with a time of 1:56.36. Zmuda lead the relay off with a new school record of 26.63. This lowers her own record set at the Sectional meet a week earlier, when she passed Sarah Porter for the title of fastest female swimmer in MGHS history.
The men’s relay of Kyle Landes, Aaron Evans, Logan Conrad, and David Kamyar also performed very well. They were seeded 28th going into the meet and dropped five seconds and finished in 23rd place overall. Erin Zmuda took to the water again in the 100 yard Breaststroke and lowered her time to 1:16.46. Zmuda’s time put her in 19th place in the event.
The final event of the day had Hinkle, Herr, Snow, and Courtney West swimming the 400 yard freestyle relay for the Indians. “Their goal was to set a new school record in the event. The record is 4:29.32. The relay touched the wall in 4:29.42 just missing by .1 second. This was a very impressive swim for the purple and white. The women finished in 17th place and were naturally disappointed that they did not break the team record, but we were swimming injured, sick, and of course we have missed several practices because of the dangerous weather, causing us to cancel many of our practices in January and February. I could not have been more proud of our team. The women’s team scored enough points to finish in 25th place. They have achieved much as a team and individuals this year. We will miss our three seniors: Captain Brianna Snow, Captain David Kamyar, and Erika Stevens, but the future looks bright for the Purple and White,” said Snow.