Boardman swimmers place in Canton
Aulizia finishes 3rd in 100-yard freestyle
By BOB ETTINGER
Callen Aulizia understands the concept of setting the bar of expectations high in order to reach a goal. The Boardman senior did exactly that to push himself to a third-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle at the Division I Ohio State Swimming and Diving Championships at C.T. Branin Natatorium on Saturday evening.
“You have to set your goals high,” Aulizia said. “Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you’re amongst the stars, is how I think the saying goes. You definitely want to set the level of expectations high if you want to reach a dream. If you do that, and you work hard enough, you can do it.”
Matthew DunLany, Noah Basista, Kyle Kimerer and Aulizia started the day with a seventh-place in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:34.59.
“That meant a lot,” DunLany said. “It was our last medley relay with the seniors. It felt great. We just worked our hardest all year. The coaching staff and the team are so close. We’re a family. We couldn’t be any closer.”
That close bond is ultimately what gave the group its foundation for success.
“The entire year, we’ve worked at a higher level than at any other time in my swimming career,” Kimerer said. “We’re four brothers. We’re family more than anything.”
“It’s really hard to explain,” Basista said. “We love each other like a family. The last two years, we’ve really come together.”
That same group closed the competition with a fifth-place swim in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“I feel awesome,” Aulizia said. “I gave my all. I gave everything to God. I gave everything to my coach. I gave everything to these three other guys. This has been so much fun. I couldn’t have gone out any better. These last two years I’ve constantly been with them. There are times we see each other more than we see our actual families. We’re together enough you could say we’re brothers.”
They finished in 3:06.61 ending the careers of Kimerer and Aulizia.
“It’s almost surreal how we finished our last race with Kyle and Cal,” Basista said. “It’s not sinking in. We’ve done everything we ever wanted. It’s more that we’re sad it’s over. I’m happy we’ve done all the things we’ve wanted to do.”
The Spartans finished ninth in the meet with 88 points. Cincinnati St. Xavier ran away with the state championship with 413 points. Brecksville was second with 150.
“You don’t get the gift of having four relay kids as talented and dedicated as those four,” Boardman coach Terry O’Halloran said. “It doesn’t happen. This is one of the fastest groups of boys I’ve ever had. The records say as much. We had two All-American time standards this weekend. Swimming requires so much dedication, it makes the challenges in their futures seem easier because they’ve put in so much dedication here to reach their level of success.”
Aulizia wasn’t quite disappointed in his finish in the 50-yard freestyle, but he knew he’d left the door open for some improvement. He took the disappointment from not quite living up to the expectations he’d set for himself and used it to push himself up the podium a bit.
“After the 50, I saw my time and it wasn’t what I was expecting,” Aulizia said. “It wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I had expected. It was definitely motivation to see if I could get higher. It was also motivation to have the idea I could almost win. It was more of an adrenaline rush.”
Aulizia finished third in 45.81 – just three one-hundredths faster than fourth-place finisher Ansel Froass of St. Xavier. Hudson’s Jay Johnson won in 44.69 and Eddie Michael of Dublin Coffman was second in 44.92.
In the 50-yard freestyle, Aulizia was fifth in 20.55 and Kimerer was 11th in the 100-yard butterfly in 50.64.