Four Kirtland swimmers will compete at this weekend’s district meet after a record-setting performance at the sectional meet over the weekend.
Junior Kaley Ream qualified in two individual events and two relays while freshman Claire Dumstorff advanced in one individual event and two relays. Senior Mateja Mrva and junior Payton VanArnhem will swim in two relay events.
Kirtland’s 200-yard Medley Relay and 200-yard Freestyle Relay teams both qualified after narrowly missing out in previous seasons.
“It was very exciting to earn a spot at districts again this year, especially because we were able to get both relays to districts,” said Ream. “After being so close the past two years, I couldn’t be more excited to finally make not even just one relay, but two.”
Mrva, Dumstorff, Ream, and VanArnhem finished the 200 medley relay in 14th place with a time of 2:06.61 and that group also placed 11th in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:51.75.
“I was very excited to find out that both our relays qualified,” Dumstorff said. “We knew it would be close. We were really hoping to break the school record and had been working hard towards that goal; making it to districts was even better. It’s really great to be part of these relays as a freshman.”
Dumstorff, who also qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 14th place finish in 1:15.09, swam some of her best splits at the sectional meet.
She’s hoping to continue that trend on Friday at SPIRE.
“I was pretty satisfied with my split in both of the relays,” she said. “In the medley relay, I dropped about two seconds from my previous split, and in the free relay, I also dropped about two seconds. I definitely think that I could drop more at districts; I think all four of us can. My goals for the district meet are to drop more time in the 100 breastroke and give my best effort in the relays. I’ve been working on faster turns and hope it pays off this Friday.”
VanArnhem nearly set personal bests in both of her splits at the sectional meet.
“It was very exciting to hear that our relay team earned a spot at districts because we were so close to qualifying in recent years and I know how hard each member of this relay has worked for it,” she said. “I’m so proud of each of my teammates and I’m thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to compete at a higher level with them.”
She’s looking forward to pushing herself even more at the district meet with the hopes of leading her team to the state championships.
“My goal for the district meet is to drop some time in our races and just enjoy the experience with my teammates,” she said.
Ream, who in 2019 became the first Kirtland girl to swim at the state meet, is hoping to return to Canton later this month.
She’ll have the chance to do just that in both relays and in the 100-yard butterfly and 500-yard freestyle.
Ream placed third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 59.0 and seventh in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:17.75.
“Considering I didn’t rest at all for the sectionals meet, I was pretty happy with where my individual times were,” she said. “My goal at this meet was to beat my sectionals times from last year and I did that in both individual events. I wasn’t close to best times in either swim, but I’m hoping to get those faster times at districts and states when I am rested and suited up. As for our relays, we broke school records in both of them. Our medley time was about three seconds faster than any other relay this season and our free relay was four seconds faster than we’ve gone this season. It was so much fun to be able to drop that much time, and break the records, and advance in both. I am so excited to see what we can do at districts.”
While her other teams might experience some nerves at their first district meet, Ream has been there and done that.
She’s hoping that experience pays off with another trip to the state meet.
“Past experience in the postseason has helped me a lot with handling nerves,” she said. “As a freshman, I was so nervous going into these meets. However, this year, I was just so excited to be able to swim and I was able to turn those nerves into adrenaline and have a lot of fun.”