CCS swimmer’s journey lands her at state meet

Tori Schneider qualifies in 500 freestyle

FAIRFIELD TWP. — Tori Schneider started swimming in a summer league at the age of 10, all because one of her friends from grade school was doing it.

The Cincinnati Christian junior admitted, at the time, that she wasn’t the best.

“I was really bad,” Schneider laughed.

Regardless, Schneider’s quest to become a better swimmer had begun, and she has since put in the hard work and effort to prove it.

Schneider clocked a time of a 5 minutes, 31.56 seconds in the 500-yard freestyle at districts to qualify for the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state meet, which takes place Feb. 20-24 at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.

“She’s an amazing student-athlete,” CCS coach Jen Keiner said of Schneider. “She is great at balancing academics and her swimming. She knows how to prioritize, and every high school coach appreciates that.

“We’re really proud of Tori. At the beginning of the season, she had been on fire with the 500, and she has been determined that she was going to go to state. She had it in her mind that that’s what she was going to do.”

And she did — but not without fighting through some personal adversity the last couple of years.

“It’s been a very long journey, that’s for sure,” Schneider said. “It’s been a little bit of a rough one.”

Schneider said she had to step away from swimming during the summer of 2022. She lost her grandmother to leukemia and took it pretty hard.

Schneider noted that she wasn’t in the right mindset to compete in the pool.

“That was an extremely difficult period for me,” she somberly said. “It was hard to come back from that at first. That’s what has made this even better making it to state.”

Schneider was forced to make up some of the time she had lost following her hiatus from the pool.

“When I came back to swim, I was very slow. I hadn’t swam all that summer,” said Schneider, who swims at Powel Crosley YMCA in Cincinnati. “I feel like anything is possible with hard work and dedication. I feel like God has been with me this whole time. I’m so blessed that I’ve been able to make it to state through all of this.

“I’ve dedicated this to both my grandma and God,” added Schneider, a devout Christian. “I give all of my swims to God. I give all of the glory to him — because he is the one that made this all possible. He is the reason that I’ve made it this far.”

Schneider considers herself a distance swimmer. Keiner, who has coached at CCS for 10 years, saw her excel in the 500 freestyle at the Southwest Ohio High School Swimming and Diving Classic last month.

“She’s swimming really well, and I’m excited to see her swim in Canton,” Keiner said. “I can’t wait for her to represent CCS.”

Schneider had dropped her 500 time by four seconds at the Classic, and she dropped it by 7.8 seconds at sectionals before qualifying for the state meet at districts.

“She’s everything a high school coach would want their athlete to embody,” Keiner said. “She has it. She’s great. I’m thankful I have another year with her.”

But for now, Schneider said she has her sights set on this week’s state meet.

“I’m just going to race my hardest,” she said. “There are many mottos I like to go by, but the one I live by the most is to race your hardest and give everything back to God. This will be dedicated to both my grandma and to God.

“I’m going to go there and have fun, too. As long as I go up there with a positive mindset, it’ll help me do well and have a great experience with competing against the other girls.”

Other area swimming and diving state qualifiers:


Boys: Diving — Luke Eminger, Monroe, 422.30. 200 Medley Relay — Ross, 1:33.91. 200 Freestyle — Xander Williams, Lakota East, 1:40.98. 200 Medley — Connor Bennett, Ross, 1:52.81. 50 Freestyle — Braden Fuller, Lakota East, 21:33. 100 Butterfly — AJ Gomez, Lakota East, 49.95; Cooper Burt, Ross, 50.21. 100 Freestyle — Xander Williams, Lakota East, 46.70; Braden Fuller, Lakota East, 46.71; Conner Norton, Ross, 47.70; Luke Mignery, Ross, 47.74. 500 Freestyle — Nathan Spetz, Lakota West, 4:32.54. 200 Freestyle Relay — Lakota East, 1:27.19. 100 Backstroke — Cooper Burt, Ross, 49.65; AJ Gomez, Lakota East, 52.58; Michael Metz, Fairfield, 53.14. 100 Backstroke — Connor Bennett, Ross, 56.40. 400 Freestyle Relay — Lakota East, 3:11.18; Ross, 3:13.87.

Girls: 200 Freestyle — Anna Greg, Talawanda, 1:56.00; Bailey Bacher, Lakota East, 1:56.02. 200 Medley — Natalie Fada, Lakota East, 2:12.34. 50 Freestyle — Abbie Curry, Talawanda, 23.71. 100 Butterfly — Anna Gregg, Talawanda, 58.44. 100 Freestyle — Cora Spetz, Lakota West, 51.13. 500 Freestyle — Bailey Bacher, Lakota East, 5:16.18. 100 Breaststroke — Abbie Curry, Talawanda, 1:06.02; Hazel Culver, Hamilton, 1:08.18.


Boys: 200 Freestyle — Patrick Gibbons, Badin, 1:43.12. 100 Butterfly — Patrick Gibbons, Badin, 51.33

Girls: 200 Freestyle — Kathleen Burke, Badin, 1:57.84; Lena Trokhan, Badin, 1:58.06. 500 Freestyle — Kathleen Burke, Badin, 5:18.70; Lena Trokhan, Badin, 5:21.11; Tori Schneider, Cincinnati Christian, 5:31.56.

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