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Birds of a feather swim together, too!

By John Bombatch Sports Editor jbombatch@civitasmedia.com

January 8, 2014

BEAVERCREEK — Billed as the “Best of the Nest,” Saturday’s high school swimming and diving meet had a laid back feel to it. These birds of a feather — The Bellbrook Golden Eagles, Fairborn Skyhawks, Fairmont Firebirds, Chaminade Julienne and Eaton Eagles — competed together at the Dayton Raiders Aquatic Center


It’s early enough in the season that competitors are still preparing for the bigger meets still on the schedules, and that enables them to have a bit of fun as well. For instance, it’s not every meet where you’ll find the coaches competing in an event, but there they were, two heats of coaches flailing in the water, with their swimmers and divers cheering them on.


Bellbrook coach Rob Johnson came up with the idea at last season’s inaugural Best of the Nest event.


“It’s something I always wanted to do, just to make it a little light-hearted. I think the theme of the meet, with all of the teams having bird mascots, kind of lends it to being a fun meet,” Johnson said. “It’s certainly no championship meet here. It’s all about having fun and doing something a little bit different.”


Johnson and Fairborn assistant coach Rick Taylor competed in the coaches freestyle race, along with members of the Eaton, C J and Fairmont teams. Results from the coaches races, which ran in two heats, were inconspicuously missing from the official result sheet, however.


Host Chaminade Julienne won the girls meet by 20 points over runner-up Bellbrook. Fairborn’s girls contingent placed fifth with 11 points.


Bellbrook’s Hannah Collins won the 1-meter diving competition, Golden Eagle teammate Meghan Bobick won the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events and Holly Hulett won the 100-yard butterfly and backstroke competitions.


Jessica Collins led Fairborn with second-place finishes in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle events.


“I think I swam as I had expected,” Collins said. “I finished second in both of my events and I stayed close to my goal time and my best time. And for any swimmer, that’s a good thing to have happen. This is my home pool, because I’m a club swimmer (with the Dayton Aquatic Raiders), so I’m used to swimming in it, so it’s been good.”


Collins, a Skyhawk sophomore, has plenty of club swimming experience, but this is her first year swimming for a high school team. She said the coaches event caught her by surprise.


“This is honestly the first time that I’ve ever heard of such a thing. It’s absolutely fun,” she said.


As the largest school in the flock, Fairmont dominated the boys meet to win easily over Eaton. Bellbrook and Fairborn were fourth and fifth respectively.


Bellbrook’s Drew Breese placed second in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke events to lead the Golden Eagles despite having a moniker more suitable for football in New Orleans.


Nathan Dunn earned a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle event (24.89) and was third in the 100 freestyle to lead Fairborn. Dunn’s personal-best time in the 50 freestyle is just more than a second away from breaking a 20-year-old school mark.


“The record is 23.1 and I’m at 24.7 right now,” he said. “So I’m a little bit away, but I’m going to get it. I can’t wait.”