You couldn't ask for a much better start to the season for the Saint Ignatius swimming and diving squad.
The Wildcats opened the 2019-20 campaign with a dominant effort at the Solon Relays on Saturday. The Aqua Cats won the meet with 150 points, bested second-place Hudson by 42 points. Solon (98) and Brecksville (80) rounded out the top four finishers in the 8-team meet.
The Wildcats won all three events on Saturday. Not bad at all!
The top highlight of the meet might have been the 200-yard backstroke relay. The Wildcats set a new meet record with an outstanding effort by junior Tyler Hong, freshman Erik Seicean, senior John Soeder, and sophomore Sam Hessler. With a rep from each class, the quartet combined for a time of 1:39.47, besting the previous record set by Upper Arlington by nearly two seconds. The 18-point win and new record spurred on the Wildcats.
The 200 medley relay almost set a meet record, as well. Hong and seniors Robert Gavigan, Brian Johnson, and Soeder combined for a time of 1:36.88, besting the competition by over 6 seconds. The Cats' time just barely missed Hudson's 2011 record, off by just .08 seconds.
Eighteen more points came the Wildcats' way in the 400 medley relay. Hong, Sam Hessler, Tommy McIntyre, and Kian Carmichael earned the top spot with a mark of 3:46.42. Not a bad finish at all.
Speaking of excellent, the Wildcats' 200 free relay squad rolled past the competition. Micah Murtha, Thomas Metz, William Van de Walle, and Soeder clinched the gold with a time of 1:29.23.
Another win occurred in the 200 fly relay. Cameron Marcie, Johnson, Nolan, and Richmond wrapped up the No. 1 slot with a time of 1:38.74. Brecksville-Broadview Heights nipped at the Cats' heels, but the veteran crew did its job.
The final win occurred in the 400 free relay. Murtha, Richmond, Marcie, and Van de Walle teamed up for a top time of 3:20.08. The no-doubt victory ensured a smooth ending for the blue and gold.
One of the two relays the Wildcats did not win was the 850 free relay (the crescendo relay). Cormac Nolan swam the 50, Thomas Metz did the 100, Michael Bednar handled the 200, and Joe Richmond wrapped up the 500. As a group, the Wildcats clocked in at 7:56.56, missing out on first to Hudson by a few seconds.
The other event the Wildcats took second in was the 200 breaststroke. Vince Elmore, Jack Johannessen, Gavigan, and Carmichael did well with a time of 1:59.50, but not quite well enough to win. Still a good effort by the veteran crew.
The Wildcats also did good work in the JV races. Elmore, Johannessen, Marcie, and Bednar combined to win the 200 free relay with a time of 1:35.77.
Seicean, Metz, Nolan, and McIntyre all did well in the 200 medley, but were disqualified. They still deserve kudos even with a DQ.
The Wildcats did well on the diving side, too. Will Claus snagged second with a final score of 259.75. Jackson Salisbury of Solon earned the top spot with a tally of 301.85. Noah Keim just missed out on the top 10, scoring a 126.45 on the day for 11th place.
With the victory, the Wildcats enter the week with confidence. They'll need it this weekend, as they head west on I-90 to take on state power Toledo St. Francis. Last season, the Wildcats topped the Knights for the first time in quite a while, so St. Francis will have revenge on its mind.