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Swimming: Roosevelt’s Bailey, D’Sidocky and Medley Relay show well at state meet

Swimming: Roosevelt’s Bailey, D’Sidocky and Medley Relay show well at state meet


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


There were moments throughout the Kent Roosevelt High School boys swimming and diving team’s season that head coach Corey Spicer saw glimpses of something beyond the regular season.

Navigating through the postseason can be tricky, though, and his Rough Riders would have to be prepared to elevate their efforts against the area’s most difficult competitors under the brightest of lights.

In a series of season-defining moments, the Rough Riders proved they were ready, resulting in a tremendous close to the year, with Parker D’Sidocky, Gage Bailey and the medley relay team of Jackson Puhalla, Eli Hilton, AJ Springer and Bailey all qualifying for the state meet at C.T. Branin Natitorium in Canton.

“The atmosphere at C.T. Branin is unmatched,” Spicer said. “It is the perfect stage to host a high-level swimming meet. You can feel each and every fan in the stands that form a “U” around the competition pool above you. All eyes are on the action for every single race.”

For the Rough Riders, that included a 26th place finish for D’Sidocky in diving, after literally beginning the sport just a few months ago, 9th place in the 50 Freestyle and 10th in the 100 Butterfly for Bailey, while the Riders’ relay team was the first in 40-plus years to represent the program at the state meet.

Spicer offered some insight into the chance for his standouts to compete at the state championships.




Event: Diving.

State Finish: 26th overall in  Division II.

“We knew at the start of the year that Parker had a really good chance to have a special season,” Spicer said. “We had a chance to scout his talents on the board during gym class, while they were in for their swimming unit. From that point on, we knew we had to get him on the team. He then went on to get better and better each practice and really had a solid district meet to earn his spot at the state meet.

“He only had a couple months of training on the diving board with coach Megan Nugent, who has been absolutely brilliant for our diving program the last two years.”



Kent Roosevelt senior Gage Bailey arranges letters on the school record board after setting new marks for the 50 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly.

Events: 50 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly.

State Finish: 9th in 50 Freestyle and 10th in 100 Butterfly in Division II.

School Records: 21.55 in the 50 Freestyle and 51.77 in the 100 Butterfly.

“Coming off a big year last year, we had a feeling Gage was going to have a year to remember,” Spicer said. “He chased the 50 Freestyle record all last season and this season until his last race as a Rough Rider. The 100 Butterfly was another story, as he continued to lower the school record at each big meet throughout the season. He did all of those wile being an even better teammate and leader — one that we are going to great miss next season.”



Members: Jackson Puhalla, Eli Hilton, AJ Springer, Gage Bailey.

State Finish: 20th in Division II.

Milestone: The first boys relay team to qualify for the state championship for the program in more than 40 years.

School Record: New low-time for the Kent Roosevelt High School pool.

“We knew it was going to be a long shot to qualify for states — even if we hit on all cylinders at the district meet,” Spicer said. “We didn’t even realize how close we were going to be for it until halfway through the meet when we started combining all the district-meet times from other locations that were running at the same time as us. It was a thrill for the kids, knowing they might have a shot to swim another week in Canton.”

Sophomore Jackson Puhalla — “The anchor of our Medley Relay the second half of the season, as we saw tremendous growth in his spring Freestyle,” Spicer said. “Jack has been great for us in the IM and Butterfly all season long, but he stepped up big in the Freestyle when we needed him to. We are excited to see his growth the next two seasons.”

Sophomore Eli Hilton — “Eli was pushed into our Medley Relay for Breaststroke at the halfway point of the season when we had to sideline Drew Vecchio for transfer rules,” Spicer said. “Eli stepped up big time to fill that role and make sure the team would not miss a beat. His time dropped continuously as the season progressed, and he would finish with a personal best split time on the state relay.”

Sophomore AJ Springer — “The final sophomore making up our relay is our Backstroker,” Spicer said. “AJ has also had a season of fantastic swimmin, seeing big drops in his Freestyle and Backstroke all season. He leans heavily on his incredible kicking ability. We can attribute his success on the track in sprint running a bit for that.”

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