Marysville High School swimmer Maggie Helfrich fought back tears as she reflected on the senior night ceremony held earlier in the evening.

Marysville High School swimmer Maggie Helfrich fought back tears as she reflected on the senior night ceremony held earlier in the evening.

Helfrich was one of 11 seniors recognized before the Monarchs' meet against Thomas Worthington on Jan. 26 at the Union County YMCA.

"I've seen my sisters do this and this night means a lot," said Helfrich, whose three sisters graduated from Marysville and competed in the program. "Swimming is my life."

Rachel Helfrich graduated in 2001, followed by Sarah in 2005 and Katie in 2010.

The night also was special for coach Ann Rausch.

"It's tough to see these kids leave that you've been with for four years," Rausch said. "With both of us (assistant coach Chris Terzis) doing summer rec, we've been with some of these kids since they were 5 and 6 years old."

The Monarchs, who competed in the OCC-Cardinal Division swimming championships on Jan. 29, now will prepare for sectional and district competition.

Marysville will compete in the Division I sectional at Upper Arlington on Feb. 12. The district meet is Feb. 19 at Ohio State.

Last season, the girls team finished 12th (16 points) behind champion Upper Arlington (355) in the 13-team UA sectional. Marysville was 16th (39) behind first-place UA (472) at district.

Helfrich and her teammates are hoping to improve on those finishes.

"We had a great season this year," she said. "We had a bigger group than we've had in the past. We've been like a huge family. It's been a very successful year. It's been a lot of fun."

Brittany Finlay, who graduated last year, became the first Marysville swimmer to qualify for the Division I state meet in the program's nine-year history. She finished 21st after completing last year's 100-yard breaststroke preliminaries in 1 minute, 9.4 seconds and didn't make the finals. Finlay now is a freshman swimmer at Ashland University.

"We're hoping to get more than one swimmer to state this year because we got our first swimmer to state last year," Rausch said. "We want to increase that number."

Sophomore Miranda Hampton, in her first season on the team, appears to have a solid chance to qualify for state.

An accomplished swimmer with the Springfield YMCA Swim Club, Hampton already has set Marysville program records in the 50 freestyle (25.63), 100 free (55.69), 200 free (1:58.76), 500 free (5:22.59), 200 individual medley (2:11.47), 100 backstroke (59.19) and 100 butterfly (1:00.6).

"This has been a lot of fun. It was a really good decision for me," Hampton said of joining the team. "Last year it just wasn't right, but I'm glad I did it this year. It's really fun.

"I hope to get to states. I have to keep training hard and taper at the right time. I had a really good training season this year. I feel really good right now."

•The boys team also has high hopes entering the postseason.

Last season, Marysville was 12th (16) behind champion UA (355) at the 13-team Division I sectional. The Monarchs didn't score at district.

Terzis feels a deeper boys team this season will lead to more success.

"The big thing with the boys is we just have numbers," Terzis said. "Last year, we only had seven boys on the team and we have 20 this year, so that makes a huge difference in meets. Last year, we got beat simply because we didn't have numbers. We have much higher expectations this year."

Freshman Quinn Mickelson, the program record-holder in the 100 back (57.45), is expected to be a solid contributor at sectional and district.

"We haven't started our postseason taper yet," Rausch said. "They won't put up times now that they will put up at sectionals and on."