Fremont Ross’ Trent Williams learned as a freshman not to take making it to Canton too lightly.
Qualifying a year ago with three seniors who had never experienced the Division I state swim meet, he heard what sacrifices they had to make to finally make it, and to never be satisfied. Success, especially amongst the elite high school swimmers in the state, is something to be earned and doesn’t come easy.
“You got to train hard all year round,” said Williams, one of five Little Giants and the only boy to qualify to Friday and Saturday’s Division I state swim meet at Canton’s C.T. Branin Natatorium. “Making it down to state is definitely a big accomplishment. You don’t want to get comfortable. You have to keep this on the top of your goal list and put everything you got in to get to it.”
Williams swam a district time of 52.64 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke to place second and earn an automatic state qualification. He’ll be the 19th seed going into Friday’s prelims.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I’d go anywhere near as fast as I did,” Williams said. “I completely surprised myself with that swim.”
Williams’ mark broke the school record in the event of 53.06.
“I thought his 200 medley relay split time on his backstroke was a good indicator of what he could do later on in his event,” Ross boys coach Phil Moran said. “It was really fast, which is what we were looking for. We had high hopes off of that. He just needed to swim that time again in his first 50 of the 100 backstroke, and he did.”
Four girls joined Williams on the bus going to Canton. The Ross girls were district runner-up to Strongsville.
Haley Fisher, Megan Hawk, Meghan Moses and Morgan Waggoner are all repeat state qualifiers. Fisher, a junior, is making her third trip to Stark County, while Hawk, the lone senior is making her fourth. Moses and Waggoner are two sophomores who both went in four events as freshmen.
“Knowing that we’re at state and not having to worry about qualifying to another meet, takes a lot of the pressure off,” said Waggoner, who was ninth in the 100 butterfly (56.71) and 12th in the 100 backstroke (57.70) last February. “It’s an exciting meet and we’re hoping for big things.”
Waggoner won the 100 fly last Saturday in a school record time of 57 seconds and is the eighth seed going into prelims. She was district runner-up in the 100 backstroke where she’s seeded 12th.
Waggoner, Fisher, Hawk and Moses were on the district championship 200 (1:35.91) and 400 free relays (3:31.12). Those relays will be seeded third and fourth respectively. The 200 free relay time was a new district and school record.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s already my last year, but I’m going to make the best of it and try to bring home more medals,” Hawk said. “I’m trying to soak everything in from the trip and keep my positive energy up.”
Hawk had a career-best swim in the 200 free at districts of 1:58.09, finishing seventh.
“We all want to do really good for her,” said Moses of Hawk. “It’s an emotional weekend for her and she’s sad to be leaving us. So we all want to work hard for her and place really high.”
Moses was seventh in the 50 free (24.15) last year and 11th in the 100 free (52.86). Her district winning of 23.91 in the 50 free seeded her fifth. She’ll be the 18th seed in the 100 free.
“I’m really excited for both of those events,” she said. “And being seeded so high, it gives you that extra adrenaline rush.”
Fisher broke the school in the 500 free (5:10.46), an event she just missed qualifying to state in. But she broke her own 200 IM (2:06.03) school record in winning a district title.
Fisher will be the 10th seed in the 10th seed in the 200 IM.
“I was excited when I saw I had a record in the 500 free, but then I was pretty upset when I saw I didn’t make it to state,” Fisher said. “But I’m sure I’ll make it in that event next year.”
Fisher swam in the 200 IM at state as a freshman in 2012.
“The 200 IM is more natural to me now,” Fisher said. “It seems like I can hold a better pace.”
The Ross girls finished in the top 10 as a team for the first time in program history with a fifth-place showing in 2013.
“I believe we’ll go faster this week than we went last weekend, so I’m excited,” Little Giants coach Tina Moses said. “I did things a little differently this year where I had them setup to have their fastest times this weekend. Hopefully, that holds true.”