(Posted Feb. 27, 2023)
He’s about as humble and kind as they come outside the water, but make no mistake, once the race starts, he’s the ultimate competitor. Jonathan Alder senior Eli Stoll used that competitiveness to defend his Div. II 100-yard backstroke state title on Feb. 24 at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio.
Stoll set the stage for his championship repeat by dominating his heat during prelims on Feb. 23, qualifying for the finals with the top time of 48.46 seconds, just 0.15 seconds away from the Div. II state record.
Despite being disappointed in his finals time, Stoll earned the top spot on the podium for the second straight year, besting Krys Gorski from Willoughby Andrews Osborne by 0.05 seconds.
Stoll, who is committed to swim for The Ohio State University next season, also finished second in the 200-yard individual medley, the same place he earned last season.
Stoll was joined at the state meet by two Madison County freshmen. Swimming in the 100-yard breaststroke, Alder’s Lily Schneider posted a personal best in the prelims, earning her a berth in the state consolation finals. Unphased by the capacity crowd and the aspect of swimming in the state finals, Schneider won her consolation heat, placing ninth overall.
Last week, London freshman Griffin Lotton nabbed the 32nd and final qualifying spot in the 500-yard freestyle and was thrilled just to earn the trip to Canton. Like Schneider, however, he didn’t let the state stage intimidate him. Lotton used a strong surge during the last 150 yards to earn a personal best time of 5:02.70, placing him 28th in Ohio’s Div. II this year.
For Stoll, it will be on to swim for the Buckeyes next season, but in Schneider and Lotton the future of Madison County swimming looks bright.