Delaware Hayes High School swimming and diving coach Bill Rietz expects the girls team, buoyed by a strong freshman class, to contend for its first league championship since 2004 and build on last year's postseason success.
The Pacers scored 259 points in the OCC-Capital Division meet last season to finish third behind New Albany (312) and Olentangy (274).
"We've been real solid the last three or four years at the top of our roster with five or six girls and that will continue this season," said Rietz, who is in his 26th season leading the program. "Our top girls are ready to compete for big things. I love our returning letterwinners.
"The best news is we have depth and we're only going to get more experienced. I'm excited to see where this freshman class will be a few months from now. We have nine freshmen and eight with experience who will contribute right out of the gate."
Delaware, which has 24 swimmers and two divers, has returned four Division I state qualifiers from a year ago in seniors Regan DeWitt and Brittany Puthoff and juniors Sam Curtin and Bethany Ward.
Last season at state at Branin Natatorium in Canton, DeWitt placed 15th in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 9.8 seconds) and Puthoff finished 15th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.01).
The two teamed with Curtin and 2013 graduate Lindsey Norris to finish 14th in the 200 medley relay (1:49.79) and teamed with Curtin and 2013 graduate Susan Thomson to finish 21st in the 200 free relay (1:40.72).
Also at state, Curtin, Ward, Thomson and Puthoff finished 21st in the 400 free relay (3:40.81), as the Pacers scored 10 points to tie Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome and Olentangy for 40th behind champion Cincinnati Ursuline (234) as 55 teams scored.
Last season marked the first time Delaware had qualified all three relays for state.
The Pacers already have broken four program records this season, with all four coming in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 7 at Ohio State.
DeWitt broke her own mark in the 200 free (2:58.36) and Puthoff broke DeWitt's record in the 200 individual medley (2:14.44). Both teamed with Curtin and freshman Brooke Glesenkamp to break the record in the 200 free relay (1:39.3), and Glesenkamp broke Curtin's mark in the 50 free (24.51).
Setting program records last season were DeWitt in the 200 free (1:58.42), 500 free (5:08.16) and 200 IM (2:15.33), Curtin in the 50 free (25.08) and the 200 free relay (1:40.08). The marks by Curtin and the 200 free relay were set in the district meet at Ohio State.
Puthoff had the Pacers' top finish in the Ned Reeb Invitational, placing fourth in the 100 breast (1:07.01), as Delaware finished ninth (149) behind champion Upper Arlington (488) as 46 teams scored.
Freshman Marisa Sulek also competed in the Ned Reeb Invitational.
"It was a super showing for us, and even our B flight participants swam well," Rietz said.
"Brooke Glesenkamp lowered the 50 free record in prelims and the finals and then swam the leadoff leg of the 200 free relay in record time. Puthoff, who is looking to become our first four-time state qualifier, had a phenomenal meet. DeWitt was great, too, and Curtin was right behind her in the 200 free."
Also back are senior Enya Granados, juniors Naimi Latta and Alex Sarna and sophomores Dawn Chapman and Addie Gannon.
Rounding out the roster are senior Sarah Newcomb, juniors Darci Baker, Julia Petry, Tiffany Redick and Elysse Steele, sophomores Ashley Baker, Mallory Hackett and Nina Sferrella and freshmen Shannon Bertsch, Lindsey Pollock, Kristen Puthoff, Megan Rice, Molly Schul, Hannah Weller and Ava Wheeler.
Chapman and Redick are divers.
Hinton leading way for boys swim team
The boys swimming and diving team has returned only one of its four Division I state qualifiers from a year ago in senior Anthony Hinton.
Last season at state, Hinton finished 14th in the 50 free (21.69) and teamed with 2013 graduates Cam Hackett, Anthony Sanfillipo and Thomas Lenhart to finish 22nd in the 400 free relay (3:16.49). Hackett also competed in the 500 free, finishing 19th (4:43.5), as the Pacers tied for 52nd (3) behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (270) as 57 teams scored.
Last season, Hinton set the program record in the 50 free (21.33) and was on the 400 free relay that swam a program-record 3:15.38.
Also back are seniors Scott Chapman, Skyler Pollock and Cody Ross and juniors Mason Nicol and Erik Richards.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Austin Adams, Dustin Buschman, Kai Herrera and Chase McSweeney, junior Nate Worthy, sophomore Josh Fashian and freshmen Thomas Blackwood, Remy Curtin, Craig Klumpp and Noah Planisek.
Chapman and Richards are divers.
"Richards had a phenomenal first meet, scoring 30 points over his best last year," Rietz said. "Chapman and Richards both scored at district last season. I expect another big season from Hinton and I also think Pollock and Nicol are going to be strong. But overall, it's a small nucleus of experienced competitors."
Curtin, Hinton, Nicol and Pollock competed in the Ned Reeb Invitational, with Hinton finishing 12th in the 50 free (22.05) and teaming with the other three to finish 16th in the 400 free relay (3:31.32) and 17th in the 200 free relay (1:34.52).
The Pacers finished 27th (27) in the Ned Reeb Invitational behind champion St. Xavier (485) as 44 teams scored.
Girls basketball team gets out to strong start
The girls basketball team won four of its first five games before losing to visiting New Albany 57-42 in an OCC-Capital contest Dec. 10.
Delaware, which was 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Capital before playing Big Walnut on Dec. 13, won its first two games before losing to Olentangy 58-45 in its league opener Dec. 3.
Led by guard Kristen McMillen, the Pacers bounced back to beat Worthington Kilbourne 50-35 in an OCC-Capital game Dec. 5 and defeated Marysville 55-33 on Dec. 7.
McMillen had 17 points against Kilbourne and scored 21 against Marysville. Julie Bauer added 13 points against Marysville and Abbie Gore added 11 points against Kilbourne.
Against New Albany, McMillen had 15 points and Katie Ellis scored eight.