The Canal Winchester High School swimming and diving program continues to grow.
This season, the girls team has 20 members and the boys team has five, marking the most athletes each team has had in the program's seven-year history.
The girls squad has doubled in size since last season, and its improved depth paid immediate dividends in its opening meet, as the Indians scored 104 points to win a quad meet against Liberty Union (67), Teays Valley (39) and Bloom-Carroll (25) on Nov. 25 at Pickaway County YMCA.
"This is the biggest team we've had in our history," coach Julie Pastor said. "We have so many girls that it's hard to put them in all the events they want to swim, which is a good problem to have. I don't think we've ever won a (quad) meet before, so it feels great to finally have the numbers to compete as a team."
Four Division I district qualifiers have returned in seniors Kasey Pastor and Devon Shull, junior Lexie Meade and sophomore Chloe Palmer.
Also on the team are seniors Hannah Klatt, Natalie Tennison, Nicole Tennison and Katelyn Widenthaler, juniors Kristin Riggs and Rebecca Vogt, sophomores Bailee Faulkner, Kaity Seitz, Jillian Vogt and Joelle Zuberi and freshmen Baily Alspach, Ashley Clubb, Miaya Green, Marah Grossman, Hannah Hatley and Katee Stone.
"We spread the word that swimming is fun in high school and a lot of people joined our team," Kasey Pastor said. "Those extra people are bringing our team a lot of extra points. It feels like we're an actual team this year and it's cool to know that we can actually compete and win meets."
Canal Winchester placed fifth (75) in the 16-team MSL meet last year behind champion Granville (421) but has moved to the OCC-Cardinal Division. Dublin Jerome (341.5) won the OCC-Cardinal title last season, finishing ahead of Westerville Central (209), Westerville North (199.5), Dublin Scioto (150), Worthington Kilbourne (141), Hilliard Darby (135), Westerville South (126) and Hilliard Bradley (0).
Kilbourne has moved to the OCC-Capital.
"I don't know anything about the other OCC teams in our division, but I'm sure they will be more competitive than most of the MSL teams," coach Pastor said.
Last season in the Division I district meet at Ohio State, Meade placed ninth in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 58.17 seconds) and 10th in the 500 free (5:24.91) and teamed with Shull, Pastor and Palmer to finish 22nd in the 200 medley relay (2:04.61) and 26th in the 200 free relay (1:52.72).
"Some of our girls are first-year swimmers who are just looking to have some fun," coach Pastor said. "But Lexie Meade is looking to get to state in a freestyle event, and Miaya Green is good enough to have a shot at making it to state, too."
Competing for the boys team are junior Ward Bright, sophomore Ryan Osborn and freshmen Robert Noseworthy, Luke Schirr and Anthony Suchan.
Canal Winchester opened Nov. 25 in a quad meet, scoring six points to finish behind Teays Valley (115), Bloom-Carroll (81) and Liberty Union (9).
"This is the most boys we've ever had and it's nice to have enough boys to put together a relay, too," coach Pastor said. "We had only one boy compete in our first meet, so our boys should do a lot better when we have all five of them together."
Despite having only one competitor in 2013 graduate Wyatt Meade, the Indians placed ninth (29) in the 14-team MSL meet last season behind champion Granville (299).
Jerome (226) won the OCC-Cardinal title a year ago, finishing ahead of Darby (195), Westerville South (187), Westerville Central (166), Kilbourne (153), Westerville North (144), Scioto (143) and Bradley (26).
Meade advanced to the Division I district meet in two events last season, finishing 10th in the 100 backstroke (54.27) and 13th in the 200 individual medley (2:01.78).
"It will be difficult for any of our boys to make it past sectional this year, but they will do their best and we'll see where that puts them," coach Pastor said.
Both the boys and girls teams competed in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 7 at Ohio State. The girls team finished 26th (35) behind champion Upper Arlington (488) as 46 teams scored, but the boys did not score.
Girls basketball team wins league opener
The girls basketball team beat Scioto 34-24 in its OCC-Cardinal opener Nov. 29, as Jade Smith scored 12 points and Raven Hamilton scored seven.
The Indians, whose league game against Westerville South on Dec. 6 was postponed until Dec. 27, lost to Granville 55-52 on Dec. 3 to fall to 2-2 overall. Hamilton had 20 points and Smith scored 15.