A chase that took years to complete finally came to an end for Ryan Bailey on Feb. 23, when he won the 100-yard butterfly at the state meet.
“That’s what I was chasing even before I got to high school,” the Boardman senior said of his first state championship in a winning time of 49.43.
The margin of victory was close — .33 faster than runnerup Ian Wooley of Cincinnati St. Xavier.
“The kid just didn’t go as fast as I did, that’s all,” Bailey said of his time on the meet’s second day after swimming a 48.92 in prelims the previous day.
“It went a lot slower the next day,” Bailey said. “But, luckily, I was still able to finish the job.”
The 18-year-old son of Jerry and Chris Bailey was also fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke. As a sophomore, he placed fifth in the butterfly and 16th in breaststroke. Last season, Bailey was third in the fly and eighth in the breaststroke.
His state crown was Boardman’s first since Tyler O’Halloran won both the 50 and 100 freestyle in 2003.
“Obviously, my biggest life goal to this point was to bring home the championship to Boardman,” Bailey said. “I worked every day since my freshman year and I couldn’t be more proud to do this for both my family, school, coaches, team, township and myself.”
Ryan committed to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. in September, 2012, then signed in Jan. 2013.
“I’ve always been interested in military service and, of all the service academies, I feel the Navy is best for me, both academically and athletically.”