Apple blazing a trail for Edgewood swimmers

Zach Apple of Edgewood High School isn’t rewriting the Cougars’ record book, he is starting it from scratch.

The senior earned the distinction of being the first Edgewood swimmer to win a district championship and the first to qualify to state last season. Apple continues to set the bar high. He recently won two events — the 50- and 100-yard freestyle — in the Southwest Ohio High School Swimming & Diving Classic at St. Xavier’s Keating Natatorium, a mega-meet that drew nearly 3,000 swimmers and divers. He broke the Classic record with a personal best time of 45.22 seconds in the 100 free.

Apple also was recently nominated for the JJHuddle/Bucknuts Ohio High School Boys Swimming athlete of the week award. Voting closes on Monday.

Not bad for a late bloomer who didn’t even start swimming with a club team until the summer after his sophomore year.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s really cool to blaze a new trail. I feel like I’m starting to make a name for myself.”

Apple tested the waters last season as the sole Edgewood swimmer at the state meet. Admittedly, he was a bit awestruck by the atmosphere as well as the competition he faced in Canton.

“I definitely didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” he said. “Going in, I didn’t have a lot of experience swimming in a meet that big. And, I think the pressure of being the first got to me a little bit.”

What a difference a year makes. Apple’s times are down and his confidence is up.

“I’ve been to several more meets — some really big swim meets — so I know more what to expect,” he said. “And I have more experience with the pressure.”

He and his coach have tweaked his training schedule. Apple will wait to taper for the state meet instead of the district.

“I wasn’t sure I would make state, so we tapered earlier last year,” he said.

Apple, who finished 16th in the 50 free and 24th in the 100 free last year at state, has his sights set much higher this season.

“I’d like to finish in the top three in both the 50 and the 100,” he said. “I definitely think that’s possible.”

And the higher he stands on the podium, the higher he will set the bar for future Edgewood swimmers.

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