North-East-West Swim League
Dublin Pacific wins first title
When Daniel Cherok took over as coach of the Dublin Pacific swimming team this summer, he didn't know what to expect in regards to the Dolphins' potential.
At season's end, Pacific emerged as the top team in the North-East-West Swim League, winning the 35th annual championship meet on July 23 at the Dublin Community Pool North.
It was Pacific's first overall title.
Pacific scored 2,062 points to finish ahead of Annehurst (1,970.5), Grandview (1,943.5), Dublin Atlantic (1,791), Marysville (1,756.5), Dublin Arctic (1,581) and Northland (658.5).
"It's a good group of kids, but who expected this to happen first year in because we had never won this?" Cherok said after being pushed into the pool in celebration. "It's the kids who have done it. They're just great swimmers and there's nothing wrong with participation. They like to get in and try hard."
Pacific was first (1,172) in the girls division ahead of Grandview (1,094.5), Annehurst (1,013.5), Marysville (862.5), Arctic (741), Atlantic (730) and Northland (402.5).
Atlantic (1,061) won the boys division ahead of Annehurst (957), Marysville (894), Pacific (890), Grandview (849), Arctic (840) and Northland (256).
Finishing first for Pacific were Riley Huddleston in the girls 7-8 25-meter freestyle (18 seconds), 25 backstroke (23.46) and 25 butterfly (20.62), Blaine Huddleston in the girls U6 25 free (24.72) and 25 back (29.68), Zoe Birnbrich in the girls 13-14 50 free (30.66), Elizabeth Andrews in the girls 9-10 25 breaststroke (21.69) and Delia McLaughlin in the girls 11-12 50 breast (43.59).
Relays finishing first were the girls 7-8 100 medley (1:31.81), girls 7-8 100 free (1:15.48), boys 7-8 100 free (1:24), girls 9-10 100 free (1:10.67) and girls 13-14 200 free (2:10.22).
"I thought we could win this," Pacific's Simone Fishel said. "We had some new coaches. Everyone improved a lot over the summer. Everyone worked together more than ever this year, so that really contributed to the win."
"I thought we had a lot of potential at the beginning of the season, but I do think that we have great coaches and the structure of it really helped the kids," Pacific's Samantha Bals said.
Annehurst was the defending champion, and coach Kevin Kissling was pleased with his team's overall second-place finish.
"We always want to win, so it's tough finishing second, but I'm proud of the kids," said Kissling, whose team is based in Westerville. "They swam well. We did what we talked about. They came here today and had a lot of fun and worked on moving up. ... We just wanted kids to move up because if everybody moves up and scores an extra point, you take another point away from another team. I'm really proud of the effort they put out."
Julia Bates, who graduated from Westerville South High School this year, participated in her final meet for Annehurst. Competing in the 15-18 division, she finished first in the 50 fly (32.14), second in the 50 free (1:07.79) and third in the 100 back (1:21.06).
She also was part of the first-place 200 free relay (2:06.38).
"This is tough," said Bates, who completed a 14-year career with the Piranhas. "I loved this. I've made so many connections with the coaches over the years."
For Grandview coach Susan Ferguson, the meet was the culmination of a successful season.
"I had a lot of fun," Ferguson said. "This was a great summer. We had 159 kids and about 120 of them were 12 and under, so we had a young team and we had a blast. I have great coaches and we had a great time."
A total of 406 athletes competed.
"The weather held up great and we have new team champions," said Dave Kuck, the head coach of the three Dublin teams. "It's like a whole new era in Dublin swimming. It's really transformed the last couple of years."