The Athens girls’ swim team swam to their fourth consecutive OHSAA Sectional Swimming Championship title on Saturday at the Ohio University Aquatic Center.

The Lady Bulldogs defeated a highly competitive field of 25 Division II schools from Southeast Ohio.

Swimmers claiming first place automatically qualify for the next level of the OHSAA State Swimming Tournament. Lady Bulldogs Kristina Rana and Lourdes Benencia Courreges claimed titles in their individual events. Rana swam to first place in the 200 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke events. Benencia Courreges took home the title in the 100 Breaststroke race.

Two of the Lady Bulldogs’ relays were able to claim first place finishes and thus qualify for the next level of competition. The 200 Medley Relay was won by Rana, Benencia Courreges, Nikki Bean, and Alyssa Suh. Athens swimmers Suh, Kella Rice, Izzy Pittaway and Benencia Courreges joined forces to win the 200 Freestyle Relay.

In all, twelve Athens swimmers will move on to the OHSAA District Swimming Tournament, held Wednesday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on the campus of Ohio State University.

Athens swimmers who qualified individually for the next level of competition include Izzy Pittaway (200 Freestyle, 100 Breaststroke), Benencia Courreges (200 Individual Medley), Sam Gutekanst (200 Individual Medley, 500 Freestyle), Bean (50 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly), Rice (100 Butterfly), Zoe Miller (500 Freestyle), Gabi Santiago Flores (500 Freestyle, 100 Backstroke), and Suh (100 Breaststroke).

The Girls 400 Freestyle Relay team of Bean, Rice, Pittaway, and Rana placed 2nd and will move on to the District Championship.

The Athens boys’ swim team had two relays place high enough to earn bids to the district championship meet. The 200 Freestyle Relay quartet of Santiago Flores, Gutekanst, Andy Pagan and Cole Albert will compete at the next level. The 400 Freestyle Relay of Santiago Flores, Gutekanst, Denis Govorov, and Albert will also move on.

For the first time in Federal Hocking history, two Lancer swimmers qualified for the OHSAA District Championship event. Junior Jake Clark finished second in the 200 Freestyle and seventh in the 500 Freestyle thus earning advancement. Junior Ashton Tucker’s third place finish in the 100 Butterfly was also good enough for a trip to OSU.

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