By Chris Brooks, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
OLEAN — It’s a record that she’s been chasing down since day one. Across each and every meet in season’s past leading up to what is her final season donning the black and orange, Ashley Oswald has become an expert at her craft. Now, she has continued to chip away little by little, inching ever so closer to reaching that ultimate goal that remained in the horizon.
On Tuesday, that chase for that long-awaited grandeur was over.
In the midst of what would become the most perfect of endings, Oswald would showcase the performance of her life on the diving board on the very last day of the regular season, as she garnered a score of 242.55 — smashing an 18-year old record last set by Amy Hurd back in 2005 to become the new queen of the Diving board in their tri-meet sweep of both Southwestern (95-81) and host Olean (101-80).
“Ashley has been doing gymnastics forever and is very talented. She had to teach herself for the most part. Swimming, I can teach. Diving, I’m still a student,” said Lady Sea Lions coach Steve Hand. “Ashley and her parents have taken her to dive classes after our practices in Olean, Rochester, Geneseo, anywhere she could get in. This year, she learned some dives with higher degrees of difficulty and that allowed her to go over the top. She has scored us a lot of points off the Diving board and will be greatly missed next year.”
Including Oswald’s record-breaking performance, the Lady Sea Lions (8-0) garnered eight total first place finishes in the water to complete another perfect season in the water, with Hayden Waldon and Grace Kinnicutt powering the meet with a pair of wins each.
Waldon raced towards victory in the 200 individual medley (2:22.00) and 100 breaststroke (1:18.64), while Kinnicutt added wins in the 100 butterfly (1:07.37) and 100 backstroke (1:08.90).
Kaylee Oswald would round off the individual victories for Wellsville with a winning time in the 100 freestyle (1:00.01). Oswald was also part of the winning relay team for both the 200 medley (2:05.09) and 200 freestyle (1:49.22), alongside Kinnicutt, Waldon and Morgan Mattison.
Along with their triumphant performances, the Lady Sea Lions would also garner a plethora of secondary finishes to further propel their lead, with Mattison placing third in the 50 freestyle, three Top 3 finishes from Kennedy Ewing (second, 500 freestyle; second, 100 freestyle; third, 100 butterfly), and two from Allie Bidzerkowny (second, 100 breaststroke; third, 400 freestyle).
“I’d say all the girls really stepped up in the races they were asked to swim tonight,” said Hand. “Hayden and Allie looked good in the IM and breaststroke, Grace had a good fly and back, Kaylee looked strong in the 100. The relays also give us a really nice boost as well. It was a great win against some really great competition in Section VI. I’m definitely looking forward to what we can do this weekend at the LCAAs.”
The regular season is now officially over for Wellsville, as they put a bow on a perfect 8-0 regular season, as they now await the LCAA Championship meet this weekend at Bath-Haverling, beginning with the Diving event on Thursday.
Two days later, the teams will take center stage for the overall Championship meet on Saturday.