GREENVILLE — Zach Toman made remarkable strides late in the season that quickly turned an unlikely dream of going to state into a reality.
The Greenville senior qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state swimming meet in the boys 100-yard breaststroke as he placed 10th in last week’s district meet with a time of 1:01.10, which was 18th best in the state.
“It’s pretty awesome, pretty excited for it,” said Toman, who is one of 24 swimmers who will compete in the event. “I’m actually pretty surprised that it happened, but I’m pretty pumped about it.”
Toman dropped almost two full seconds off his time in the breaststroke at the district meet to put him among the best in Ohio.
In a sport in which progress is usually measured by tenths of seconds, Greenville coach Mollie Mendoza said, Toman’s progress in recent weeks has been shocking to watch.
“We’re so surprised because starting just a few meets ago he starting really dropping a lot time,” Mendoza said. “We finally realized that (making state) might be something that will happen. And every meet he’s been taking time off; I mean amazing amounts of time.”
It wasn’t until recent weeks when he started dropping a lot of time that Toman realized making state could be a possibility.
“Probably towards the end of this season, actually,” he said. “I started dropping time a lot faster than I thought thanks to all my coaches.”
Toman was part of two relays and two individual events at the district meet. Now just having one event to concentrate on makes it easier to prepare, he said.
“It actually makes it a lot easier because then I can have all my thought right into that,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about anything else, and it’s all I have to practice for.”
But with his relay teammates finishing their seasons last week at districts, Toman now is alone in the pool getting ready for the biggest meet of his career.
“It feels really weird,” he said. “It’s a little lonely, but I’m glad I have coach Mendoza here.”
Toman has the 18th fastest qualifying time in the 100-yard breaststroke going into the state meet. He hopes to drop some more time and get into the top 16, which would allow him to qualify for Friday’s finals.
Preliminaries are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. today at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton in what Toman expects to be an amazing environment.
“It’s going to be unreal,” he said. “It’s going to be really exciting.”