Columbus School for Girls swimming and diving coach Stephanie Donley was confident her team could win its first CCL championship if it performed to its potential.
As it turned out, the Unicorns won the title convincingly while ending Watterson's seven-year run as league champion.
CSG (442 points) easily outdistanced Watterson (319), Hartley (193), DeSales (170) and Ready (32) in the league meet that concluded Jan. 25 at St. Charles.
"When we scored the meet ahead of time, I definitely expected us to be able to win it, but not by that big of a margin," Donley said. "Watterson gave us good competition, but our girls were on a mission."
Rachel Politi placed first in four events and beat Watterson's Madeline Grubbe, a University of Toledo recruit, head-to-head in two individual races.
Politi won the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 15.27 seconds) ahead of Grubbe (5:34.25) and the 200 individual medley (2:11.82) ahead of Grubbe (2:18.05).
"(Grubbe) is incredibly talented and it was exciting to race her," Politi said. "It's a huge honor to be part of the first CSG swim team to win the CCL. ... We pushed our coaches in the pool and our divers jumped into the pool to celebrate with us."
Politi also combined with Miranda Donley, Eleanor Smith and Erin Balasky to win the 200 medley relay (1:52.01) and joined Smith, Annie Moosavian and Balasky to win the 400 free relay (3:48.32).
Donley, Kirby Boes, Nicole Narcross and Moosavian took first in the 200 free relay (1:43.44), while Smith won the 50 free (25.77) and Donley won the 100 butterfly (58.65).
"Our relays were strong and we scored a lot of points there," coach Donley said. "A lot of our girls showed their diversity by swimming events that weren't their best events to give us good matchups. I asked Rachel to do a couple of off-events because we need the points there and she was all in."
Syreeta Palackdharry (406.3), Hanna Carmon (347.6) and Maddie Morbitt (347.35) swept the top three spots in diving.
"Our divers gave us a huge boost by scoring so well and they played a huge part in our success," Politi said. "Our times weren't necessarily where we wanted them to be, but in this meet that didn't matter as much as where we placed and we raced for place really well."
The Unicorns compete in a Division II sectional Feb. 8 at Columbus Academy. Last season, they placed third (203) at sectional behind Granville (339) and host Academy (230).
CSG also is looking forward to again facing Granville after losing a dual meet 149-137 on Jan. 3.
"We definitely want to see if we can beat Granville at sectional for the title, but I'm pretty confident we'll at least finish in the top two if we swim well," coach Donley said.
"The most important aspect of sectional is moving people on to district (Feb. 14 at Ohio State)."
Basketball team turning around season
After winning one of its first 11 games, the basketball team won three of its next four to improve to 4-11 overall.
The Unicorns won the Jaguar Invitational, defeating Shekinah Christian 37-34 on Jan. 17 and beating host Wellington 42-24 in the final Jan. 18.
Annie Parkhill scored 13 points and Myrial Holbrook had 12 against Shekinah Christian, and Holbrook had 16 points and Parkhill scored 12 against Wellington.
Parkhill, who was named tournament MVP, also scored nine points in a 27-23 win Jan. 23 over Grove City Christian.
The Unicorns are 0-5 in the CCL.