Perkins junior Michael Mulvin is looked forward to a lighter workload.
As the swimming and diving season winds down, the distance in weekly workouts plummets in an effort to rest competitors -- a technique called "tapering" in the swimming community.
After the Division I and II district diving meets Wednesday and today at Bowling Green State University, state hopefuls are on the doorstep to the meet.
Now they just need to kick it down.
"We just want to get through districts, watch the yards drop on the chalkboard and enjoy a less amount of work," Mulvin said Saturday after he won individual section titles in the 200 and 500 freestyle events.
For swimmers like Mulvin, a year's worth of work is condensed into a week.
"This is when that four months of training comes in. There's no going back," St. Mary CC coach Michele Gallagher said Sunday. Gallagher is hopeful her son, Michael, returns to state and takes a relay unit with him. Gallagher is a second-seed in both the backstroke and 200 IM, while the Panthers 200 medley relay has the sixth fastest time entering the district.
"It's back to practice, and we'll continue with what we've been doing and swim fast (Friday)," Sandusky coach Tommy Patterson said.
The top three divers and one individual automatically qualify in Division I, while the top six divers and four individuals qualify in Division II. The remaining at-large berths are announced Sunday.
There was only one boys district champion from a year ago -- Perkins' Jimmy Chapman won the backstroke in 53.27 seconds -- but that was under the previous format of a single division.
Friday and Saturday should see more local competitors aiming for the top spot Friday and Saturday; Chapman is the top seed in the backstroke (54.46) and butterfly (51.96).
Following the sectional meet, Chapman said he was feeling slightly fatigued, but will enjoy more rest as he begins his two-week taper through the state meet.
"I'll rest more, work less, eat and sleep," he said. "Things will fall in place by state."
The senior All-American has just two meets left for Perkins, which dawms on him with each passing competition.
"It's sinking in more since New Years," Chapman said. "I'm still trying to think about swimming fast and getting the No. 1 spot in one or two events."
Mulvin owns the top seed in the 200 freestyle (1:47.09) and Chris Waldock was the fast swimmer in the 200 IM (1:59.58).
The Pirates are also top seeds in all three boys relays.
"We're seeded fairly high in a lot of events, so I expect we'll have a strong presence there," said Perkins coach Steve Cremean, who feels the Pirates could be a third-place finisher at districts for the girls meet and second for the boys.
In 2008, the Pirates finished third in both the boys and girls district meets.
Stephanie Gyruke won both the 200 and 500 last February as a freshman, and is favored to repeat in both events, while Katie Quinn will defend her district crown in the butterfly against Port Clinton freshman MacKenzie Stewart -- who beat Quinn at the sectional in a close race with a 1:08.51. Quinn finished in 1:08.97 Saturday, but clocked 1:06.84 at the district meet a year ago.
Cremean said Napoleon, behind its extensive depth in a majority of events, will likely be the team to beat in Division II.
But he warned the Pirates shouldn't turn a blind eye to the rear-view mirror, either.
"That's not to say a team like Oak Harbor can't catch us," Cremean said. "It tightens up very quick, so if you don't swim well, you don't lose two places. You lose like six."
It's the difference between being on the doorstep and kicking it down.
Huron's Brenton Richardson erred Saturday when he turned early and missed the wall swimming the 100 freestyle. He finished sixth (53.32) but still qualified for the district. His PR in the event is a 51.38 -- which would have earned him a sectional title. Port Clinton's Josh Scott won in 51.59.
Margaretta's Syndey Craig posted the district's top Division II time in the 50 freestyle (25.44), while Gus Everson is the top seed in the Div. I 50 (21.91 seconds) and 100 (47.86).
"They're starting to see the goals we set at the beginning of the season," Patterson said. "Eleven months of training for some is now down to one or two meets."
Area coaches hope the tapering will allow their kids to enter the weekend feeling rested, healthy, and ready to turn in their top swims of the season.
"Hopefully after we fully taper, maybe some of them can make it to the next level," Huron coach Jen Gallagher said. "We want them to end on best note possible.
"We're trying to keep them positive and keep them rested."
Coaches monitor their swimmers fairly closely, Gallagher said. While they might get tired of it, Gallagher wants her competitors to follow the plan you have for them to a 'T' because of the delicate balance -- too much or too little rest could result in a sloppy performance.
Two swimmers -- SMCC's James Alexakos and Huron's Tyler Watson -- earned district berths even though they were ill Saturday.
Watson missed a week of practice before sectionals, Jen Gallagher said.
Alexakos finished ninth in the 100 freestyle -- one spot short of advancing -- and exited the water wheezing, said Gallagher, who was relieved he qualified on the 200 medley relay.