Garrett Ocker came into the Class 3A state swim with designs on a sweep of the sprint events.
A bad turn in the 50-meter free relegated the A.C. Flora senior to second place and a silver medal, but he rebounded to win gold in the 100 free to close out his prep career in grand style.
“It was a real letdown not winning the 50, but if anything it gave me even more motivation to win the 100,” Ocker said. “I wanted redemption.”
He got it with a personal record time of 47.53.
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“Winning two races at state has been the goal all season, and Garrett was really down after the 50,” Falcons coach David Livsey said. “We talk a lot about dealing with disappointments, and Garret showed how to do it today. He really responded, and it’s a great way for him to go out.”
A bad turn doomed Ocker’s bid in the 50, opening a window of opportunity for Academic Magnet’s Nate Silvestri who clocked in at 22.37 with Ocker hitting the wall in 22.48.
“That turn is where I lost it, and I wasn’t happy about it,” Ocker said.
But the win in the 100 kept alive a Flora tradition of excellence. Ocker’s 100 win was the fourth by a Falcon entry in the past five years. The previous 100 champs were Andy Campbell (2001), Janson Busby (2009) and Bill Flatt (2008).
The other Midlands standout was Chapin freshman Catherine Bendziewicz, who claimed two medals. The budding Eagles star earned a silver medal in the 50 free and a bronze in the 100 free.
The best team performance was an eight-place effort by the Dreher boys. It was the first top-10 finish for the Blue Devils in nine years.