The Greater Columbus Swim League championships marked the end of a successful summer for its participants.

The Greater Columbus Swim League championships marked the end of a successful summer for its participants.

The event, which was July 20-21 at the Plain Township Aquatic Center, featured more than 1,000 swimmers, including a 6-and-under division for the second-consecutive year.

Despite bad weather on the first day, the event was a success, according to GCSL President Cheryl Bevan.

"This year has been a great year," she said. "It was a great turnout. We always get a lot of parents, especially for the relays, which draws a lot more kids. There's a lot of commitment. It's all volunteers. We have a lot of great parents who pitch in to make it come together."

The coaches added to the fun atmosphere by again dressing in costumes, with this year's theme being super-heroes.

"The teams do cheers," Bevan said. "A couple of them have rituals. One team brings their water from their own pool. We think all of those things add to the ambience of the meet. You get the younger swimmers excited."

For Northwest's Caitlin Harty, the event helps her prepare for a grueling prep season.

"It's just as exciting as high school swimming because you try really hard in the summer," said Harty, who is entering her senior year at Dublin Scioto. "It is summer league, but you still really try. You try to have fun, but again it's competitive, so there was great swimming."

Harty and her teammates successfully defended their senior division title, scoring 1,467.5 points to edge runner-up Delaware Aquatic Racing Team (1,326). Worthington (1,031.5) finished third, followed by Highlands (997), Westerville Jaycee (763.5), Olympic Swim Club (749), Plain Township (491) and Gahanna (488.5).

"It's all about fun for us," Northwest coach Mike de Bear said.

"We have a Northwest family. We have kids from seven, eight different high schools, which makes us very unique in a community league. The kids work hard and they have fun."

DARTS won the junior division championship with 1,224 points. Worthington (878) was second, followed by Northwest (826), Westerville Jaycee (495), Olympic Swim Club (454), Highlands (454), Plain Township (414) and Gahanna (383).

DARTS also captured the overall title, scoring 2,550 points. Northwest (2,293.5) placed second, with Worthington (1,909.5), Highlands (1,451), Westerville Jaycee (1,258.5), Olympic Swim Club (1,203), Plain Township (905) and Gahanna (871.5) rounding out the standings.

"This is what our kids train for all season," DARTs coach Denise Berry said. "We have a family atmosphere. It is one big supportive group of kids and parents."

For Plain Township's Michael Fenster, the event helps him showcase his skills despite being confined to a wheelchair as a result of a birth defect. Fenster, 9, is battling Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by abnormal development of the lower spine of the developing fetus.

"What's cool about this is he's able to be on a team with his buddies who aren't disabled, so he has great friends who are disabled and great friends who aren't," Fenster's father, Michael Sr., said. "They've all known him for five, six years, and nobody treats him any differently. When he's out here, he's just a swimmer. He gets in the water and goes."

Fenster, who was participating in his first GCSL championships, practices four days a week with the team.

"I've met a couple of new friends," he said. "Most of them I already knew. That's why I wanted to join, my whole grade was on the team."