An event like the Northwest Ohio Aquatic Conference Relays offers coaches a different perspective of a team. Where traditional swim meets have a combination of relays and individual events, the NWOAC Relays rely on a team's roster to fill out a lineup.
Of the 11 competing teams -- four of which were area schools -- in Saturday's event, Perkins came away with 154 points to top the field, while the boys had the highest finish (fifth) of area schools in the boys meet.
"I'm pleased with how we swam," Perkins coach Steve Cremean said after the meet. "The kids are working hard and it shows."
It marked the third consecutive win for the Perkins girls at the NWOAC relays. They won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45.26, and got several second- and third-place finishes to provide points.
Four days after Perkins split its opener with Mentor, Cremean said the Pirates took what they learned in that dual and applied it immediately. "They're already implementing things from our classroom sessions.
"They're improving themselves day by day, and meet by meet," Cremean said.
Port Clinton's girls, who tallied three first-place finishes, were fourth.
The meet also had two defending state champions from the area in Port Clinton junior MacKenzie Stewart and Sandusky sophomore Taylor Vargo.
Port Clinton's girls won the 300 butterfly relay (3:01.84), the 400 freestyle relay (3:46.70), the 800 freestyle relay (8:20.96), and had second-place result in the 200 freestyle relay (1:48.09).
"I feel like (the girls) picked up where they left off, and coming back after the success we had at state, it was pretty exciting to see," Port Clinton coach Danny Diaz said.
"You can spread your kids around and get to see some hidden talent," Diaz said. "I was surprised to see we had more depth that we thought they did. I was really impressed with some of the younger kids and underclassmen stepping up and swimming well today."
Port Clinton's boys, 10th overall, swam in three relays and had just nine swimmers.
Sandusky was eighth in the girls meet and sixth in the boys, while Oak Harbor was sixth in the girls meet and seventh in the boys.
"It was and early meeting in the season, and gave us insight on where everyone's starting and where to go," Oak Harbor coach Andrea Sorg said. "We finished middle of the pack, but felt like we had good showing overall."
With the individual racing practically eliminated from an event like this, it also removes the competitiveness between any two swimmers and places the focus on a four-person relay racing the clock.
"It's a way for the kids to loosen up and break into the season. It's more fun on a relay than an individual event," Sorg said.
There was one individual swimming event -- the 500 freestyle -- in which Perkins senior and three-time state placer Stephanie Gyurke was first in 5:19.93. Sandusky's Helen Smith placed third in 5:59.63. The SHS girls had fourth-place spots in the 400 medley (4:28.71) and 400 freestyle relay (4:02.80).
Sophomore Kevin Bressler was first for the Pirates in the same event for the boys in 5:00.50, edging out Toledo St. John's Mickey McGoldrick (5:00.75) by a quarter of a second. The Pirate boys had a runner-up finish in 3x100 medley relay (3:05.23).
The Sandusky boys were first in the 300 backstroke relay (2:59.69) and third in the 300 butterfly relay (2:53.02).
"I thought we swam well. It was our third meet this week and I thought we were a little drained," Sandusky coach Tommy Patterson said. "What I like to see is the race preparation, how they prepare for the race, and trying to do the things we've learned and they're taught."
The Lady Pirates were second in the 400 medley relay (4:14.88), the 800 freestyle relay (8:28.02), the 300 backstroke relay (3:12.29), and the meet's final event, the 400 freestyle relay (3:49.12). The runner-up spot in the 400 freestyle relay gave them enough points to win the meet.
Perkins was third in the 3x100 relay (3:22.83), and state diver Kori Penrod was third in diving (189.25).
"You have to dive deep into your roster," Cremean said. "It's a balance of quality and quantity. It's a good gauge of team depth with the other teams."
The NWOAC Championships are Jan. 28-29, an event most swimmers use as both barometer of progress and springboard to sectionals.
"(The NWOAC Championships is) one of our most serious meets this year," Sorg said.