Tucker Rinehart was a part of four record-setting performances this season for the Grandview Heights High School boys swimming and diving team, but the realization has set in for the four-year standout that he has competed in his last event for the Bobcats.
"It's kind of bittersweet," Rinehart said. "The places I'm considering going to school won't have a place for me in the swim program.
"Though I won't have to go hard in practice every night or have the long days at meets, I'll also never get to compete like this again, and I'll miss that."
Rinehart became the first Grandview swimmer to qualify for state in an individual event since 1953 graduate Sid Hall twice achieved the feat. The Bobcats had a boys diver advance to state in 2010 when Jack Davis finished eighth in Division II.
Competing in the Division II state meet, which was held Feb. 19-21 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, Rinehart finished 17th in the 50-yard freestyle (22.22 seconds). He also qualified in the 100 free, but decided to forgo the event to concentrate on the Bobcats' relays.
Seniors Willy Kramer, Zak Graham and Josh Smith joined Rinehart to set a program record in the 200 free relay, finishing 13th in 1:30.56. It was the first time Grandview advanced to the finals of a state swimming event since Hall did it twice.
"I feel like we made our mark in the program and accomplished something special," Kramer said. "We worked so hard as a group and we proved that we could (get out of the state preliminary round)."
Rinehart also joined Kramer, senior Peter Bonn and Smith on the 400 free relay that finished 22nd (3:26.34).
The Bobcats tied for 40th (8 points) at state behind champion Dayton Oakwood (214) as 58 teams scored.
"I adore all of these kids," said coach Patti Hoch, who completed her 12th season. "They worked so hard.
"I remember when they were freshmen. You have goals for them to progress toward over the seasons and I'm thrilled to see them reach their potential. This group wanted to go to state every year and get better each year. They went (to state) three years and made the finals (this year), which was great."
Aside from the 200 free relay record, Rinehart also set program records at district Feb. 14 at Ohio State in the 50 free (third, 22.08) and 100 free (fifth, 48.66).
The 400 free relay of Kramer, Bonn, Smith and Rinehart was fourth at district in a program-record 3:24.57 as Grandview finished fifth (162) behind champion Dover (259) as 41 teams scored.
The girls team did not have any state qualifiers, finishing fourth (129) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (413) at district as 30 teams scored.
The girls set program records in all three relays at district. Freshman Adrienne Bechtel, sophomore Mary MacLeod, senior Ellie MacLeod and senior Halli Bair finished fifth in the 400 free relay (3:54.67) and Mary MacLeod, freshman Mimi Day, freshman Calley Schmalz and senior Maddie Bills were fourth in the 200 free relay (1:44.38). The 200 medley relay was fourth (1:58.06) with Mary MacLeod, Day, Schmalz and Bills.
Also setting program records at district were Bechtel in the 100 free (seventh, 57.13) and 200 free (10th, 2:05.56), Mary MacLeod in the 100 backstroke (1:05.49, 17th) and Schmalz in the 100 butterfly (1:05.65, 13th).
Both teams won sectional titles Feb. 8 at Upper Arlington. The boys finished first (309) of five teams ahead of runner-up Centennial (258) and the girls were first (470) of three teams ahead of second-place Centennial (293).
Individual boys sectional champions were sophomore Glenn Cheney (100 back, 1:07.33), Kramer (100 fly, 1:00.6) and Rinehart (50 free, 23.06; 100 free, 51.26).
Individual girls winners were Bechtel (100 free, 58.68; 200 free, 2:07.77), Bills (500 free, 6:15.91), Day (100 breaststroke, 1:20.17) and Ellie MacLeod (50 free, 27.04).
"We expect to have only two senior girls next year, but we have 11 freshmen (this year) and seven of the 11 qualified for district," Hoch said. "They have a chance to be pretty special."
The teams finished second in the MSL meet Jan. 25. The boys (268) placed behind host Columbus Academy (352) and ahead of Bexley (218) and the girls (271) placed behind Academy (365) and ahead of Bexley (174).
Also expected back for the girls are juniors Cara Cincione and Allie Kramer, sophomores Elizabeth Bergmann, Taylor Oberschlake, Emma Pommering and Courtney Wilson and freshmen Nina Arnold, Claire Bills, Lily Feast, Claire Fishpaw, Courtney Swihart, Lauren Tucker and Gretchen Varner.
The boys also expect to return juniors Jackson Bussey, Christian Meyer and Justin Warnement and sophomore Ross Carter.
"The great thing about coaching is seeing the kids succeed and we have had groups do that every year," Hoch said. "We had a strong senior boys class this year and a young girls team that really improved. There is always something to keep things interesting."