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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
The Hudson girls swimming and diving team has had its share of breakthrough performances during the last several years.
The 2012-13 Northeast Ohio Conference Meet, which concluded Jan. 5 at Cleveland State University's Busbey Natatorium may have topped them all.
The Lady Explorers easily won the 17-team NOC Meet with 620 points.
Strongsville was a distant second with 425 points and Solon placed third with 413 points.
"This was one of the most impressive performances by our girls team in the history of our program," Hudson head coach Matt Davis said. "They did an amazing job in prelims to get 29 finals swims and came back at night and swam even better."
The Lady Explorers set three conference records.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Stephanie Boyd, Laura Murphy, Connie Gan and Paige Kelly got things started with a first-place time of 1 minute, 50.69 seconds. The previous record time of 1:51.13 was set by Solon in 2009.
Kelly was just getting started.
Not long after swimming the 200 medley relay, Kelly won the 200 freestyle with a meet-record time of 1:53.99. The previous record was 1:55.96, which was set by Solon's Emily Schwartz in 2010.
Kelly also won the 500 freestyle (5:12.49).
And Hudson managed to finish things in style.
Despite having the team victory clinched, the Lady Explorers' 400 freestyle relay team of Gan, Emily Arther, Laura Murphy and Kelly also won with a meet-record clocking of 3:35.7. The previous record of 3:38.78 was set by Solon in 2010.
"This has been an exciting season for the girls and I attribute that to great senior leadership," Davis said. "The girls have an outstanding positive attitude toward everyone in practice."
Murphy and Gan each had a stellar meets too.
Murphy finished first in the 200 individual medley (2:10.4) and took second in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.73).
Gan placed first in the 100 butterfly (59.21) and took second in the 100 freestyle (54.25).
Also placing in the top five for Hudson were:
200 IM: Arther, third, 2:14.78; and Natalie Hill, fifth, 2:17.65
Diving: Brittany Seibert, fifth, 314.7 points
100 butterfly: Hill, tied for second, 1:01.58
500 freestyle: Sarah Wolanske, fourth, 5:24.51
200 freestyle relay: Jillian Saccogna, Boyd, Wolanske and Arther, fourth, 1:44.13
100 backstroke: Boyd, second, 1:00.33
100 breaststroke: Gina Saxon, fifth, 1:10.78
"Coming off winter break training, I wasn't sure what to expect," Davis said. "Everyone swam either a lifetime-best or season-best time [Jan. 5]."
The Lady Explorers are scheduled to host NOC Valley Division rival Mentor Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.
They are set to compete at the Northeast Classic Jan. 12. The preliminaries are scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. at the University of Akron's Ocasek Natatorium.
The finals are set to take place at 6 p.m. at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.