Eaton places fifth in breaststroke

CANTON – Last season, Michael Eaton became the first Belmont County native to earn all-Ohio in swimming when he placed eighth in the 100 breaststroke.

The St. Clairsville junior is now the first Ohio Valley swimmer to be a two-time all-Ohioan in boys’ swimming.

Eaton put the finishing touches on an absolutely brilliant campaign with a fifth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.01, which is the second fastest time of his career.

“Obviously, I was hoping the places would have been a little bit different,” Eaton said. “I knew it was going to be a tight race (in the breaststroke) and it was.”

Eaton led the race after the first 50 yards, touching the wall at 27.05, but he clocked 30.96 on the way in as Cincinnati Wyoming junior Jonathan Rutter, Dover’s duo of Jake Armstrong and Frannie Brogan and Walsh Jesuit’s Ben Boskos all pushed past Eaton in the final stretch.

“I was right where I wanted to be,” Eaton said. “I just didn’t swim the second 50 as strong as I usually do,” Eaton said. “It was a tight one and unfortunately, I came out on the short end. I was hoping for better but fifth place in Ohio is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Eaton didn’t know exactly what place he was in when he touched for the final time.

“I didn’t think I was fifth,” Eaton said. “I couldn’t see the scoreboard from my lane, so I scooted back in the water and saw fifth. My heart kind of sunk down a little bit because I knew how hard I worked and I’d beaten those guys before, but it wasn’t meant to be. I still swam my second best time.”

Eaton, who returns to the water for his YMCA team on Sunday at Kenyon College, will see the Torando duo and Rutter twice during the spring and summer meet tour, so his preparation for the future begins almost immediately.

“I’ll be gunning for those guys,” Eaton admitted. “They’ve got a target on their back now. I am going to hit it even harder next season. I can’t wait for next season already.”

Earlier in the meet, Eaton took part in the 100 freestyle, finishing 12th overall in an impressive time of 48.90.

“That was my second best time ever in the freestyle, too,” Eaton said. “Overall, it was a bittersweet day.”