Roberts finishes career at state meet

CANTON – It’s certainly not the finish she was hoping for.

But the way Ashlyn Roberts looks at it, how many other girls in Ohio can say they are one of the 24 best in the state?

The Fostoria senior finished seventh in her heat of the 50 freestyle Thursday at the Division II State Swimming and Diving Championships at the C.T. Branin Natatorium.

Her time of 25.08 was a bit off her school record and qualifying time of 24.67, and left her sitting 23rd overall after the event was complete.

“I went out there and tried to do my best and I swam as hard as I could and did what I could,” Roberts said. “I was just kind of spinning my wheels today. I’ve had so many good races for so long but you just come up short sometimes.”

Roberts said she felt good going into the race and for the first 25 meters, felt like she was performing at her top flight. But come the back stretch, things tapered off.

“I felt really confident. I felt really good. My first 25 (meters) were phenomenal. I felt amazing,” Roberts said. “But coming back, it was spinning, spinning, spinning; choppy, choppy, choppy.”

Her coach, Amy Stultz, said she could tell she might be in trouble in the closing stretch.

“It’s just one of those things. When you swim a 50, there’s not a lot of time to make a mistake and recoup from it,” Stultz said. “That last maybe 25 feet is when it started (going downhill).”

The coach said that didn’t take anything away from what the two-time state qualifier has accomplished in her career, including an All-Ohio 14th place finish last year in the same event.

“She’s accomplished great things for our program, our school, our community,” Stultz said. “(She’s) put the program out there. We’ve built the program from when I came to it in 2005, we had five swimmers, to where we average 15-20 swimmers now. It’s done a lot. It’s brought swimming to the community. A lot of people didn’t know we even had a team.”

The senior said it’s already sank in a bit about what she’s done making it here again.

“It feels really good actually. I didn’t do my best today but I still have to sit back and think, ‘Wow, I’m still top 24 in the state,'” Roberts said. “I’ve made it to state twice. Not many girls can say they’ve done that in Ohio, anywhere really.”

Roberts said she is gratified by what she’s done at Fostoria.

“It feels good. I think the big thing for me is that I’m a native Fostorian and I love Fostoria. I am proud and I know a lot of people give Fostoria a bad rep, but I’m one proud Redman,” Roberts said. “And I love coming out here and showing people, ‘Hey, look. We still have a (great) athletic program at our school. It’s really cool. I think I’m the first girl to make it to state from Fostoria in swimming.”

Athletic director Aaron Weidner said the school and community has much to be proud of when it comes to Roberts.

“Overall I think it’s great for swimming and our community. I think it’s great for our individual swimmers and the school as a whole. She’s really come a long way and made us proud,” Weidner said. “To the best of my knowledge, we haven’t had anyone down here since the ’70s, so to come back now and to have Ashlyn do it is obviously something special and it’s a great thing for her and her family.”

He said the support of her family, coaches and teammates have all played a role in her success.

“Her family is greatly supportive of her and her efforts. They’re driving her all around (and) all of those things that lead up to this,” Weidner said. “There’s so much involved in getting down here (to state). It means the world to me as an athletic director, but also to our athletic department and our school. We are all extremely, extremely proud of Ashlyn.”