CANTON — Tommy Cope has been swimming competitively since he was six years old.
12 years later he turned that hard work and dedication into a pair of state championships.
Cope won the 200 yard IM in a time of 1:47.24 seconds, out-touching second place Cooper Hodge of Moeller by .06 seconds. Hodge had the fastest preliminary time, and Cope was second coming into finals.
Later that evening, he won the 100 yard Breaststroke in a time of 54.87 seconds, nearly half a second ahead of Jason Mathews of Pickerington North.
“I am really proud of him and know how hard he has worked his entire life,” said coach Greg Bergman. “It is great to see a reward like this go to a wonderful student and athlete.”
Cope, who will swim collegiately at the University of Michigan, is expected to swim at the Olympic Trials this summer. Bergman says the timing is perfect, especially looking ahead to the 2020 Olympic Games.
“Four years from now, I think he can hopefully do some damage at the trials,” said Bergman. “It is perfect timing for him to go now as a high school senior, swim four years at Michigan, and then go back to the trials stronger and in his prime.”
Butler’s 200 Free Relay team of Cope, Brendan Shanahan, Ian Barrett and Colin Wolfe broke their own school record set in the preliminaries by swimming a 1:28.34. The relay finished 14th in the finals after being seeded 20th.
“The team snuck into the state meet 20th, and to move up four spots to 14th was amazing,” said Bergman. “I didn’t think that was a possibility.”