GRAFTON—The Grafton Bearcats’ swim team participated in the 2020 Big Ten Championships on Saturday at the Harrison County YMCA and out of 10 teams, the Bearcats finished eighth overall with just 10 athletes.
The boys turned in an impressive fifth place result out of nine teams, scoring a total of 60 points. Grafton participated in three relays and they all resulted in personal best times, including the boys’ medley relay team of Luke Nibert, Layne England, Will Angus, and Zach Nibert, who bettered their previous school record by 4.58 seconds.
In the boys’ 200 free relay, all four members (L. Nibert/Z. Nibert/L. Miller/L. England) had tremendous splits, including lead-off Luke Nibert with a 26.07 and England’s anchor split of 25.05, which was his fastest time ever. They finished in fourth place and broke the GHS record with a time of 1:45.75, shaving more than three seconds off the previous record.
The girls’ medley relay team of Hannah Hobbs, Leah Jackson, Jocelyn Countryman, and Skylar Wooddell also swam a personal best of 2:39.30. In individual competition, the boys were led by freshman Layne England, who scored 11 points for the Bearcats with two PR (personal record) swims in the 50 free and the 100 breaststroke, good enough for eighth and fifth places.
Freshman Will Angus scored eight points with two PR swims of his own, and notched two seventh-place finishes in his 200 IM and 100 back races.
Luke and Zach Nibert scored the remaining six individual points for the boys with a sixth-place finish for six points and a tenth-place finish for one point in their 50-free race. Levi Miller finished just 1/100th of a second off of his PR time to take twelfth place.
“These boys were on fire today,” said Grafton head coach Heather England after the meet. “They have been working extremely hard in practice this week and it showed today. We will taper in practice this week, so hopefully these times will come down a little more for Regionals on Saturday.”
For the Lady Bearcat swimmers, freshman Leah Jackson earned an 11th-place finish in her 100 breaststroke and was 21st in the 100 free. Jocelyn Countryman swam to an 11th-place finish in her 200 IM, while Emily Cather and Skylar Wooddell set personal record times in both of their 50 and 100 free races.
Hannah Hobbs also swam consistently in her 50 free and 100 back races.
“The highlight of the meet for us as coaches was seeing all of the consistent personal record times still being turned in by these kids,” England stated. “This team has been one of my all-time favorites to coach. I am very grateful to have Luke (Ulizzi) as my assistant coach. His passion for swimming, along with his experience both as an exceptional athlete and former YMCA coach have been invaluable to this team and it definitely shows. I am looking forward to some more great performances this coming Saturday at the Region III swim meet.”