By Dick Zunt
Cleveland Plain Dealer
CANTON, OHIO. February 25. HAWKEN put the finishing splashes on its record 11th girls state swimming and diving championship yesterday.
The Hawks started with a victory in the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay, and the Hawks finished with a flourish as the 400 freestyle relay team of Andrea Hocevar, Anna Strohl, Christen Fout and Lauren Torpey won.
They took home the Division II championship trophy for the second straight year. They scored 373 points, followed by Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin with 155.
"This meet was awesome," Torpey said. "All the girls came together, and we had so much fun.
"Winning the trophy is very rewarding. We all worked very hard for our ultimate goal."
Torpey won yesterday’s 500 freestyle in 4:55.53 for the team’s first gold medal performance of the day.
"I’m very pleased," Torpey said one day before her 17th birthday. "This meet has an excitement level like no other.
"Winning the 200 freestyle last year and the 500 this year is a great feeling, a feeling of pride shared by family and friends."
Teammate Lindsey Meier was third in the race, clocking 5:04.75. "This is my highest individual finish at state and my best time of the year," Meier said.
Hawken missed its meet record in the 200 freestyle relay by one-hundredth of a second in winning the event in 1:38.11. Swimming on the relay for the Hawks were Hocevar, Eileen Starrett, Julieann Watson and Torpey.
Chagrin Falls sophomore Lauren Preyss found a swimsuit that suited her fine. It was on loan from Diana Munz, former Chagrin Falls great and a standout in last summer’s Olympic Games at Sydney.
"She brought over three suits that she wore at the Olympic Trials last August and told me to pick a suit," Preyss said. "I did and wore it in winning the 100-yard freestyle today and the 200 freestyle yesterday."
Yesterday, Preyss won the 100 freestyle in a meet-record 51.78. "My main goal was to defend my championship and top 51-plus, which I did," Preyss said. "Both my championships are equally important. However, it was more difficult to defend the 100 free because there is more pressure on you. I knew it would be close."
Beaumont sophomore Sara Stech took second in the Division II backstroke, clocking 59.28. "I wanted to get my best time, and I broke one-minute twice," Stech said. "I had a 59.93 and then my 59.28. I had very good competition and tons of support from friends and fans. They were behind me all the way."
Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin’s foursome of Jesse Radtke, Heather Page, Shawna Gallant and Jen Downing clocked 3:38.95 in finishing second to Hawken (3:35.74) in the closing event, the 400 freestyle relay.
Crestwood junior Beth Groselle was third in the 100 breaststroke yesterday in 1:05.22.