BG’s Scotty Buff setting swimming world on fire


Bowling Green resident Scotty Buff set the swimming world on fire when he shattered the national high school record in the 100-yard butterfly during Ohio’s Division I state championships at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton on Feb. 25.

A Toledo St. Francis senior and University of Florida signee, Buff became the first scholastic athlete to break the 45-second barrier in the 100 butterfly, as he registered a performance of 44.97.

Buff’s effort sliced exactly a half-second off the previous record, which was set by Aidan Hayes at 45.47 during the 2021 season. Buff also broke the independent-school record, which was set at 45.52 by Joseph Schooling in 2013.

After producing a qualifying time of 46.08, Buff skipped over the 45-second realm and captured the state title by more than three seconds. Buff was out in 21.09 and covered the back half of his race in 23.88.

Scotty knew the national 100 butterfly record was within reach.

“The prelim swim was an OK swim — it was too relaxed,” Buff said. “I didn’t go out and do exactly what I needed to get my goal time, which was eventually the national high school record.

“But I knew I had the speed, and I was able to do it, so I got into the finals and we started the meet off with the 200 medley relay, and our guys swam incredible, and I swam the backstroke leg of that, and we got second place by .05 of a second, and that was incredible,” Buff continued.

“I didn’t think we would be able to do that, and we did it and it surprised me, so it kind of started the mood to the meet and I was all hyped up.

“Then I got to the 100 fly, and I said, ‘I’ve just got to throw down, I’ve got to be ready, so I went out after it, and I hit the wall and looked at the clock and was like, ‘Aw, I did it.’”

Buff also led off St. Francis’ runner-up 200 medley relay with a backstroke split of 21.29. He was also second in the 100 backstroke, and part of the 400 freestyle relay team that finished third and was named Swimmer of the Meet.

In the 100 backstroke Buff was runner-up in 22.3 seconds to his future University of Florida teammate, Akron Firestone senior Jonny Marshall (22.24)

Scotty was joined by his sophomore brother, Maximus, on both relay teams. His sister Mia, a Toledo St. Ursula freshman, placed in the Division I girls meet.

They are the sons and daughter of Tony and Keri (Seeliger) Buff, both standout swimmers at the University of Arizona.

Five-star national recruit

St. Francis coach Brent Ransom, who was named Coach of the Meet after the Knights finished third at state, said the University of Florida is lucky to get Scotty.

“He’s one of the hardest workers and one of the most determined people I know,” Ransom said. “He is known for his great underwater skills, which is probably one of the best in the country.

“He’s nationally-ranked as a top recruit in the country for swimming for his class, so he’s a ‘freestyler,’ he’s a ‘backstroker,’ he’s a ‘butterflyer,’ and he’ll be a great help for Florida going in as a freshman.

“His work ethic is amazing. He had to learn a lot coming in as a freshman to now, and he’s just grown and gotten better each year and his future is bright. He’s going to do amazing.”

During the recruiting process, Buff, who qualified for the Ohio state meet all four years of high school and won his first state title as a sophomore, took the maximum five visits — to Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, Texas, Virginia, and Florida.

“It was an incredible experience,” Buff said. “I got to meet a whole bunch of new people, great coaches, and I got to hang with the best swimmers in the world and in the NCAA.

“But coming down to my goals were and what I wanted to do, Florida came to me and said, ‘Look, we’re going to make you good at what you want to be good at.’

“I was sold at that because I had confidence in those coaches that they are going to help me along my process to become the best swimmer I can possible be, and the best person.”

No wedge, no problem

To get an idea what kind of competitor Buff is, consider what happened during the National Club Swimming Association meet in Orlando, Florida, which is still going on this weekend.

Buff got into the pool Wednesday night for a race and realized his wedge, a starting device, was broken. He swam without it and still won.

“This kind of defines Scotty. He was swimming the 100 backstroke and he was seeded second. We have certain devices they use when they are doing a start,” Ransom said.

“His broke, so I kind of had to stop the race before it started, and he told them that he didn’t need the device and he actually ended up winning that event. It’s just one of those things.

“As a kid, he had this runner high that he wouldn’t feel anything and when he heard the crowd (roar), that’s when he felt that high and he said there is no one who could stop him at that point. It was an epic swim.”

All in the family

Buff said his love for swimming derives from his parents. Keri grew up here when her father Scott Seeliger was an assistant football coach at Bowling Green State University. When he took a coaching job at Wisconsin, she went to high school there. Tony is from Atlanta.

“That is where I got the love for the sport from,” Buff said. “They didn’t put me into it too early.

“I was able to develop the love of the sport for myself, but really my dad, I believe, is one of the biggest swim nerds.

“He knows almost every single statistic almost every time anybody swam anything — what their time was and where they swam at, and I got a lot of that from him, and my siblings have that, too.”

As a youth, he attended St. Aloysius School and swam for BG Swim Club, where he was under the auspices of coach George Leatherman. Once he got to St. Francis, Ransom and his staff took over.

“One hundred percent I would not be the swimmer I am today without him,” Buff said. “What he has done for me mentally and physically, I mean he has the right practices, he pushes me when I’m in the pool, he’s always there in training knowing that I can be faster than what I’m doing.

“So, he’s constantly pushing me there. But when we get close to the end of the season, and let’s say I don’t have the exact swim I wanted to, he is able to sit down with me and have heart-to-heart conversations that have really structured me as a swimmer and where I am in the pool today.”

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