Few things get a Stow-Muroe Falls student's blood boiling more than the prospect of facing Cuyahoga Falls.
Ask a swimmer from either school about the rivalry, though, and the response might surprise.
"We grew up swimming and competing with a good amount of people on their team, so it is always fun swimming against them," said junior Cody Vantrease "We both badly want to win, especially us since we lost to them for the first time in about ten years last year which made this meet even more intense. However, we do maintain are friendships as we're always complimenting each other after we swim. It's friendly, but intensely competitive."
The rivalry continued Jan. 12 in a packed house at Akron General Medical Center in Stow.
The Bulldogs boys team defeated Cuyahoga Falls 93-91 and the Bulldogs girls won 99-87.
"Many of our kids had personal best times which really shows how hard we've been working," said Stow coach Dan Reese
First place finishes didn't come easy for Stow.
"Our girls did a great job taking control right from the first event," said Reese. "By going out there and winning the medley relay they really set the tone for the rest of the meet."
Scoring first place finishes was the girls 200 medley relay team of sophomore Kelsey Wenk, junior Ainsley Wilbur, junior Jenni Heid and sophomore Kelly Vantrease in 1:58.22 seconds.
Wenk won the girls 50 freestyle in 26.01 and the 100 backstroke in 1:05.09.
Heid won the 100 butterfly in 1:05.59 and the 100 breaststroke by .23 tenths of a second with a time of 1:13.37.
The girl's 200 freestyle relay of Wenk, Vantrease, junior Tori McCauley and Heid took first in 1:46.03.
Also taking first was the girl's 400 freestyle relay team of McCauley, junior Maddie Dyer, Wilbur, and junior Lindsey Adkins 3:56.14.
"It was close for both the boys and girls," said Dyer. "Everyone had amazing performances allowing us to win. The best part was getting to compete against so many of our friends."
For the boys, junior Cody Vantrease earned two first place finishes in the 100 butterfly in 55.32 and the 500 freestyle in 5:14.13.
Senior Jacob Earle won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:06.08.
The 200 free relay team of junior Curtis Henry, sophomore Schuyler Morris, junior Justin Faluotico and senior Cameron Potter took first in 1:39.54.
The boys 200 Free Relay team of sophomore Shane Riddle, Earle, Vantrease and Henry took second 1:49.23.
Earle took second in the 200 IM with a time of 2:11.82 and Riddle took fourth in 2:22.75.
The boys 200 Free swimmers took second, third and fifth to help the boys team. Faluotico took second (1:59.97), Potter third (2:00.10) and sophomore Max Bauer fifth (2:08.92). Again in the boy's 50 Free Stow took second, third, and fourth place. Senior Parker Gabriel who has only been diving this year practiced with the swim team this past week and went a 24.63 for second, Henry a 24.93 for third, and Morris 25.59 for fifth.
In the girl's 200 Free Dyer and Adkins took second and third with times of 2:08.79 and 2:09.41 respectively. Wilbur took second in the girl's 200 IM 2:23.89 and Vantrease took third 2:25.87. In the girl's 50 Free McCauley went a 26.26 for second place and senior Rachael Moretti took fifth 28.60.
"Moretti has been battling a knee injury all season so having her back was huge for our team," said Stow assistant coach Warren Schneider.
Wilbur took second in the girl's 100 butterfly (1:07.34). In the girl's 100 free McCauley took second (57.23) and Vantrease took third (59.65).
In the boy's 100 free, Potter took second (53.14), Henry third (55.52) and Morris fifth (57.08).
Freshman Travis Delker took fourth in the boys 500 Free (5:37.69) and freshman Isaac Lumley took fifth (6:11.40).
The girl's 200 free relay of Moretti, Dyer, sophomore Erin Fenwick and sophomore Katie Kissinger took third (1:55.07). The boy's 200 free relay team of Gabriel, Bauer, sophomore Josh Pflug and Delker took third (1:43.23).
In the girls 100 Back Adkins took second with a 1:07.79. In the boy's 100 Back Riddle took third (1:05.49) and sophomore Corey Dyer took fourth (1:06.77).
In the girls 100 breaststroke freshmen Gretchen Evan went a 1:18.24 for fourth place and sophomore Sara Kassinger took fifth with a 1:26.74.
Delker took third in the 100 Breast at 1:14.33 and sophomore Alex Cremer went a 1:14.59 to take fourth.
In the diving event for the boys senior Will Sheppard took second with 128.77 points, Gabriel third (105.22 )and Kyle Miner fourth.
For the girls team ,freshman Erika Delker took third with 116.92 points, sophomore Sierra Clark fourth (100.42) and sophomore Frances Haas, fifth (90.97).
The boys meet was a virtual tie going into the final event.
Cuyahoga Falls needed a first and third place finish in the final relay to win the meet, but the Stow boys wouldn't be denied. Although the 400 relay team of Potter, Earle, Faluotico and Vantrease was just out touched to place second by .35 seconds, the 400 free relay team of Morris, senior Ethan Schur, Delker and Bauer took third with a time of 3:52.26 to secure the win for the Bulldogs.
"We did a really good job and everybody gave it there all every race," Stow senior Willy Donahue said. "We have improved so much this year in all aspects which allowed us to swim past Cuyahoga Falls."