Groselle is athlete of the week

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Sometimes, numbers do lie.

The cold, hard facts show that Crestwood junior Beth Groselle did not come away with a title in either the 200 individual medley or 100 breaststroke at this past weekend's Division II state swimming and diving championships at Canton's C.T. Branin Natatorium.

But the cold, hard facts don't hardly tell the whole story.

Because, despite finishing third in the 100 breaststroke after placing second in that event at last year's state meet, Groselle still put forth the most outstanding performance of her illustrious high school career.

First, her time of 1:05.22 in the 100 breaststroke was her best ever. Second, she also swam a personal-best 2:06.92 in placing second in the 200 IM, her first time swimming that event at state.

And third, Groselle was going against Ohio's two defending state champions in the 100 breaststroke, Kettering Alter senior Kelly Jones and Columbus School for Girls sophomore Sarah Baumert. Jones was the Division II champ last year, while Baumert was the Division I titlist in 2000, then swimming for Upper Arlington prior to transferring to the Columbus private school.

So, all things considered, Groselle had a remarkable weekend indeed.

"I wasn't really upset that I didn't improve on my place from last year (in the breaststroke) because my time was better," said Groselle. "To me, that was more important than my place. I knew it was going to be harder than last year even to get second. I was more interested in bettering my time. It would have been nice to get first of course, but I was happy with the time I swam."

Jones won the breaststroke with a state-record time of 1:04.53, while Baumert was second in 1:04.98.

"In the breaststroke I shortened my strokes at the end, which I shouldn't have done," said Groselle, who carries a 3.89 GPA. "It's an old, bad habit of mine that I've been working on. I used to shorten my strokes earlier in the race, so I've been improving on that. I have to learn to keep my strokes longer for a longer period of time."

Groselle had won the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.48 at the Cleveland State district Feb. 17. But with the event being so loaded _ the eventual Division I state champ, Tiffany Clay of Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame, would have finished fourth in the Division II race _ she understood full well she would have to lower her time significantly just to have a chance against Jones and Baumert.

"She knew it was going to be tough," said Crestwood coach Nancy Groselle, Beth's mother. "She was frustrated not to get in the top two. She was hoping she could get in between the other two girls (Jones and Baumert). But she was really happy with her time _ and she's still getting better."

While reaching the state meet in the 100 breaststroke was certainly no surprise, her appearance in the 200 IM was somewhat unexpected. Beth Groselle had qualified for the state meet in the 50 freestyle last year, placing sixth, but dramatically improved her time in the 200 IM over the course of this season.

"During the season, I was trying all the events to see which one would be my second event," she said. "We looked at other times around the state and decided on the 200 IM. Last year my best time in the IM was a 2:13, and this year I got it down to 2:06."

She placed fourth in the 200 IM at the Cleveland State district, clocking a 2:10.39, then shaved nearly four seconds off that time a week later at state, finishing runnerup in 2:06.92. Williamsburg junior Betsy Jo Brockman won the event in 2:05.49.

In fact, Groselle herself was somewhat taken aback by the outcome of the 200 IM.

"Going into the meet I was seeded sixth or something, so I was worried about where I'd end up," she said. "But my strokes felt really good during the race. When I looked up and saw I finished second, I was happy _ and very surprised.

"I wanted to win a state championship this year; that's the only goal I didn't meet. But the second- and third-places made up for it. It was better than I had done last year. I just need to improve my times some more."

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