The focus and determination on the faces of the Granville girls 200 medley relay was obvious before they entered the pool.
The Blue Aces not only won the event Friday at Division II state championship, but they did it in record-breaking fashion at Canton’s C.T. Branin Natatorium.
The team of juniors Keely Lovern, Kassandra Mestemaker, Sydeny King and sophomore Abby Stone topped Dayton Oakwood by almost two seconds, finishing in 1:44.2.
The old record of 1:45.16 was set by perennial power Gates Mills Hawken.
“It was really exciting because we all are best friends,” said King, who swam the anchor. “The fact that we are such a good team together really contributes to the fact that we are so successful.
“Coming in, we knew we were close to the state record after the prelims, and we knew we could do it. We were focused, had a goal and knew what we were working for.”
“It got the ball rolling for the meet,” Granville coach Kevin Yates said. “We had a two-second lead in the prelims over the other teams, and the goal was to come in and break the state record.
“They were highly motivated, and it was something we talked about all week and they got it done. Everyone swam incredible.”
The Blue Aces, who finished second in 2011 and third in 2012, took fourth Friday with 161 points. Hawken was first with 295 points, followed by Oakwood (277) and Cincinnati Indian Hills (200).
“We started off really strong with a meet record, but the meet is just faster,” Yates said. “Every year it gets faster, so we have to make sure that we get faster because it’s not going to slow down.
“We swam pretty good, but the meet is just getting faster and faster. We just have to make sure we use this as motivation for next year.”
King, who won an individual state title as a freshman in the 500 free, led the Blue Aces with two third-place finishes and the win.
King, a junior, was third in the 200 free (1:50.61) and 500 free (4:55.87). She also was on the 200 free relay, along with Allison Schroeder, Stone and Paige Griesse, that finished sixth (1:38.05).
Stone, a sophomore, also had a solid meet, finishing fourth in the 100 free (51:44) and fifth in the 200 IM (2:05.57).
“Both of them swam their fastest times, but the problem was the heats got faster,” Yates said. “The competition is tough, but they both swam well. They are both happy with their times, and even though they may not be as happy with their finishes, you can only control how you are swimming.”
Lovern was sixth in the 100 backstroke (:57.11) and 12th in the 200 IM (2:10.24). Mestemaker finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.02).
The Granville boys didn’t have anyone make it to the finals, but several competed in the consolation round.
Sam Wagner finished 13th in the 50 free (22.22) and 100 free (48.96), and Jack Barrett was 15th in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.48) and 200 IM (2:00.88).
The 200 medley relay consisting of Seth Stahl, Barrett, Grant Stahl and Wagner, finished 11th (1:40.47).
“We just have to keep building on what we have accomplished so far,” Yates said. “We have to have swimmers swim their best times or go faster because the competition is tough at this level.”