Coaches often must find a way to motivate their athletes.

Coaches often must find a way to motivate their athletes.

Case in point, Grove City High School swimming coach Amy Miller's approach to Braxten Judkins after the senior won the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 23.63 seconds in a Dec. 17 meet with Bexley.

"I went up to him and said, 'I don't even want to talk to you. You should be going much faster than that,'" Miller said with a laugh. "One of the things about Braxten is the best thing you can do is make him mad. When he gets mad, he does better."

"I don't get really angry," Judkins said. "When I have a bad time, I get mad at myself and I'll use that for motivation for my later events. (At the Bexley meet), I was really disappointed. I haven't swum that slowly since I was a freshman. I was ashamed I went that slowly."

Since that meet, Judkins has been swimming the event in the 22-second range. Last week, he was fourth in the area honor roll and 20th in the state in the 100 free (48.42) and fourth in the area in the 50 free (22.15). He also set the program record in the 200 individual medley (2:07.4).

Judkins and the Greyhounds will be looking to show what they can do at the OCC-Ohio Division championships this week. The diving competition will be held Thursday, Jan. 27, at New Albany and the swimming competition will be held Saturday, Jan. 29, at Thomas Worthington.

Last season, the boys team scored 218 points in the league meet to place third behind Gahanna (314) and Pickerington North (260), and ahead of Lancaster (196), Reynoldsburg (105), Newark (24) and Pickerington Central (14). The girls team placed fifth (100), behind North (325), Gahanna (274), Central (193) and Lancaster (179) and ahead of Newark (80) and Reynoldsburg (49).

Judkins should be challenged by North's Jacob Griffith in the 50 free and by North's Paul Hintz in the 100 free. Last week, Griffith was ninth in the area honor roll in the 50 free (22.62) and Hintz was seventh in the 100 free (49.12).

"The OCC can be kind of difficult for us because teams like Lancaster, Pickerington North and Gahanna have bigger teams than we do," Judkins said. "We'll win races or finish second or third, but their depth will overtake us.

"I basically use the OCC (meet) as a preview to see where I am. I see what my times are and what I can work on so I can get a little faster and can get on to the state meet."

Judkins said last year he was pushed by 2010 graduate Gus Bailey, who went on to place sixth (21.34) in the 50 free and 15th (47.21) in the 100 free at the state meet.

"I've noticed a huge difference not having him here," Judkins said. "Gus and I swam nearly all the same events. I used him as an inspiration to help me achieve my own times."

Judkins, Bailey, senior Ty Payne and sophomore Jack Bailey made it to state last year in the 200 free relay, placing 20th (1:30.31).

"Last year, we weren't anticipating making it (to state), but once we got there, the adrenaline of the meet took over," Judkins said. "It was a pretty cool experience. My goal is to make it back to the state meet and place in the top eight."

On the girls side, Ashley Miller has set program records in the 200 free (2:05.59) and 100 free (58.48). The foursome of Taylor Camp, Mackenzie Best, Kaitlyn Camp and Miller set program records in the 200 free (1:48.88) and the 400 free (4:05.72) relays.

"The kids are swimming tired right now, but they seem to be getting better times," coach Miller said.

Central Crossing coach Robert Boggs feels pretty good about where his teams are as they prepare for the OCC-Central championships.

The diving competitions will be held Friday, Jan. 28 at New Albany, while OCC-Central swimming will be held Saturday, Jan. 29, at Thomas Worthington.

"I feel like we're right on track with our training schedule and the times are continuing to drop," Boggs said. "We're getting better every time we get into the water."

Last season, the boys team finished seventh (48) in the OCC-Central meet, behind Upper Arlington (435), Thomas (215.5), Dublin Coffman (208), Worthington Kilbourne (144.5), Hilliard Davidson (111) and Hilliard Darby (106). The girls team finished sixth (76), behind UA (432), Thomas (293), Coffman (204), Kilbourne (107) and Darby (97), and ahead of Davidson (68).

The boys team has been led by the 200 free relay team of Kyle Dyer, Tyler Smith, Jordan Messisco and Kelley Jones. So far this season, the relay is undefeated with its best time being 1:40.

On the girls side, Boggs plans to have many of his top swimmers competing in all three relays so they can get their best times.

"We know we can't win the OCC meet, but it is the best meet to get the team ready for the postseason," Boggs said. "We're really looking at getting some of our relays past the sectional meet."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for Central Crossing and Grove City swimming and diving teams:

CENTRAL CROSSING

Jan. 11 - Boys: Defeated Whetstone 56-36, lost to Grove City 61-33; Girls: Def. Whetstone 50-44, lost to Grove City 57-37

Jan. 14 - Boys: Def. Centennial 62-58; Girls: Finished third (28) behind Columbus School for Girls (97) and Centennial (42)

Jan. 15 - Boys: Finished third (290) in eight-team Worthington Sprint Invitational behind Marysville (342) and Pickerington North (336); Girls: Finished seventh (160) of nine teams behind champion Olentangy Orange (347)

Jan. 18 - Boys: Def. Hilliard Davidson 48-40, def. Reynoldsburg 33-17, def. Watkins Memorial 65-26; Girls: Def. Reynoldsburg 63-31, lost to Davidson 63-31, lost to Watkins Memorial 53-41

Jan. 22 - Boys: Def. Caledonia River Valley 74-2, def. Northland 56-37; Girls: Def. River Valley 62-29, def. Northland 68-24

Jan. 28 - OCC-Central diving championships at New Albany

Jan. 29 - OCC-Central swimming championships at New Albany

GROVE CITY

Jan. 11 - Boys: Def. Central Crossing 61-33, def. Whetstone 73-23; Girls: Def. Central Crossing 57-37, def. Whetstone 58-3

Jan. 13 - Boys: Lost to Pickerington North 109-60; Girls: Lost to North 113-57

Jan. 19 - Boys: Lost to Gahanna 56-38; Girls: Lost to Gahanna 59-35

Jan. 22 - Boys: Finished second (159) in 19-team Pickerington Central Invitational behind Pickerington North (232); Girls: Finished fifth (110) of 16 teams behind champion North (249)

Jan. 27 - OCC-Ohio diving championships at New Albany

Jan. 29 - OCC-Ohio swimming championships at Thomas Worthington