Roth set to make a splash at Ohio State

Mar. 30—Joseph Roth made it crystal clear who he will be competing for at the next level on March 22.

Roth, a senior at Ellwood City Lincoln High, signed his letter of intent for Ohio State University to compete for the Division I swimming team. Roth swam for Riverside via a co-op program with Ellwood City.

"I went there last spring and just toured the place," Roth said while visiting Ohio State. "I feel like their facilities, academics and coaches gave me the best option to be the best I can be."

Roth capped off his senior year of swimming under the Riverside banner with a PIAA Class 2A silver medal in the 100-yard backstroke and bronze in the 50-yard freestyle event. Roth placed first in the 100-yard backstroke during his sophomore and junior years and at one point held the PIAA record in the event at 48.44.

"I still think that nobody's prepared for the type of summer Joe is going to have when Joe is only going to be focusing on swimming," Riverside coach Alaina Marshall said. "The time he's producing when he's competing in two sports is something we don't think is normal. When he really isolates on his training with his events, he's going to be unstoppable."

During the winter sports seasons, Roth juggled playing basketball for the Wolverines while swimming for the Panthers. Roth leaves Ellwood City's hardwood as the all-time leading scorer in the program's history with 2,109 points.

A son of Rick and Denise Roth, Joseph Roth said he originally wanted to compete in both swimming and basketball at the collegiate level, adding, "I feel like I still love them both. I want to go out there and have a good time."

What will the Buckeyes get out of Joseph Roth?

"In my opinion, they're getting a real competitor and a guy who is going to give it his all every time he steps in the pool," Roth replied. "He's ready to compete, he's ready to fail and he's ready to learn and succeed in the end."

Roth said he is interested in expanding his résumé from just the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke to possibly the 200-yard backstroke and further.

"He just never sits still," Marshall said. "We got back from states on Sunday, and as far as I know, he went to (play) baseball on Monday. He likes to work hard and excel in what he's doing. He keeps his main focus of swimming in mind and doesn't want to jeopardize it. His work ethic is something I've never seen before and I don't think it could be replicated."

Roth commented that it's fun to sit back and acknowledge the fact he will now be competing at the Division I level, but there's still work to be done.

"The times that I'm seeing ... I know I have to work hard and do my best to go out and compete," Roth said. "I have a lot of work to get there."

Marshall said Roth will be "incredibly missed," by the coaches and teammates at Riverside, adding, "He's a lead-by-example kid. He puts his head down and does the work. He's tremendously respected by everyone at Riverside and he's going to be a huge asset that we will miss next year."

Roth said he is leaning toward a business major at Ohio State University.