New Ohio High School State Championship Ticket Process

With Ohio’s high school state championship meet almost upon us, slated for February 24-27th, the issue of tickets for the main event at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton is again in the spotlight.

In the past, spectators would purchase tickets in advance either on-site or through their respective school, followed by hours waiting in line in the cold at the natatorium to receive a number dictating when the ticket buyer could be admitted to an unassigned seat.

This led to enormously long lines, some in the ballpark of 200 people, and disgruntled swim fans. Reflecting on the past process, State Tournament Manager, Sam Seiple, said, “It just got out of control outside. The tents, people drinking all night … we needed to eliminate that.”

But this year, a new system is hoping to make the process less of a hassle.  Although the same number of tickets will be available for each session (approximately 2,000), tickets will only be sold in packets for both the prelims and finals within each division.

However, coaches – and only coaches – are able to buy tickets in advance, specifically at 6pm on February 21st via an online portal. Each participating team will be allotted a specific number of tickets, whose figure is based on the number of state qualifiers on the respective team. The coach doesn’t have to buy the maximum allowable tickets, but only one order per team is allowed to be placed.

Of note, the earlier the purchase is made by the coach, the lower an assigned number to the purchase order will be. The number then dictates the ticket-holder’s place in line prior to the doors opening at the state meet. Fans are not permitted to be in line to be admitted to the natatorium until an hour before the doors open.

“But really, there will be no reason to line up early,” Seiple said. “The number on the ticket determines when you can get in. There will be security on the grounds 24 hours, and they will be making sure that people are allowed to get their proper place in line.”

“The important thing for the coaches to realize this year is that they will need to get the tickets in the hands of their people before the session,” Seiple said. “In the past, a lot of coaches would leave tickets at the will-call window. They shouldn’t do that this year, because the ticket holder needs to have the ticket to get their place in line.”

The tournament runs February 24-27th with prelims scheduled at 9am each day, with finals taking place at different times each day.

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Ohio Swim Dad

“People drinking all night.” Hey Sam, I’ve been in your line freezing my toes off for six straight years and have never, ever seen alcohol from any parent, so please stop blaming parents for the insanity of your old ticketing system. Yes, over the years, the snow, rain and sleep deprivation have caused tensions to rise in the wee hours. Yes, when the winds shifted last year and the temperature dropped 15 degrees, a cold parent in line behind me jokingly suggested we burn down the tents in protest to break the system. Yes, one overzealous police officer threatened to “shut down the state championship” when parents from different schools were moving up and down the line to socialize or… Read more »

Alumni swim mom

Ohio Swim Dad you are 100 percent correct. The system was broken and the canton Nazis, as we called them, enjoyed our 4 am misery in the cold! It is not too much for a team of parents and non-state swimming team members ( I’m an Ursuline and St X alum mom) to want to sit together to cheer on our state swimmers! The system forced us to wait all night lest we end up sitting all over the pool once the meet starts. There was no alcohol at 4 am for sure so that’s a lame excuse. The new system is progress, as long as it makes allowances for enough tickets for the large teams like Ursuline, St X,… Read more »

Ohio Swim Dad

Totally agree. And besides, if we would have known that all we had to do to get the ticketing process change was drink, I’m pretty sure there would have immediately been a raucous kegger on the grounds of McKinley High School 🙂

Swammer mom

Perhaps now the “Seat Nazi’s” will relax and allow teams to sit together without harassment. This is one of the best meets in the country but was miserable to be a spectator. In my five consecutive years of arriving at 3am (driving snow, blustery winds and generally miserable conditions for four of the five years) I never (not once) witnessed any parent drinking on the grounds of Canton McKinnkey. Coffee, hot chocolate, and wonderful food shared by the St X parents were in abundance. It’s a fabulous meet…perhaps now it will be more enjoyable to attend.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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