Ryan Max had an emotional trip across the Hilltop pool in the early evening of July 22 when he swam the final leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay for the Reynoldsburg Marlins in the boys 15-18 age group during the final event of the Suburban East Swim League Championships.

Ryan Max had an emotional trip across the Hilltop pool in the early evening of July 22 when he swam the final leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay for the Reynoldsburg Marlins in the boys 15-18 age group during the final event of the Suburban East Swim League Championships.

He chased down Jack Bruce of the Eastmoor Swordfish to help his team win the event in 1 minute, 51.51 seconds and secure the league varsity title for swimmers ages 12-and-under, U-14 and U-18.

Not only that, but it was also the final youth league race for Max, who has grown up with the sport.

"We knew it was going to be close and we had to win (the 200 free relay)," said Max, a 2010 graduate of Reynoldsburg High School who was a four-year swimmer with the Raiders. "But this was also my last race and I wanted to go out on top. It was my last race of my last meet in my last summer of swimming."

The Marlins earned their 11th championship in 13 seasons by scoring 482 points to finish a mere nine points ahead of runner-up Eastmoor (473), which won the SESL title in 2008. Host Hilltop was third with 215, followed by Gahanna Hunter's Ridge (182), New Albany (56), Gahanna Foxboro (18), London (8) and Bexley Jewish Community Center (4).

"I didn't know for sure if we had won (the title), but I knew it was close and would probably go down to the last leg," said Max, who was joined on the relay by Andrew Templeman, Nick McKinley and Alex Kocher.

Eastmoor's Orion Swanson, Russell Bateman, Daniel Shonk and Bruce finished second in the 200 free relay in 1:51.73. The Hilltop relay of Max Dreisbach, Mitchell Dreisbach, Thomas Welsh-Huggins and Michael Dreisbach was third in 1:59.43.

"We can take pride in ourselves, knowing that we again had a great performance after having the smallest facility in the league," said Eastmoor coach Tony Phillips, who is also the varsity coach at Hartley. "We didn't win a lot of events, but we would have two or three (participants) place in the top six to get us points."

Depth is the usual key to victory, according to Marlins coach Erik Lindquist.

"We had a lot of kids who didn't look impressive at the beginning of the season who came out, worked hard throughout the year and scored points for us in the last couple of days," Lindquist said. "We scored the winning points in the final race, but we won the meet on the first day (July 21). We had some great performances in the preliminaries by kids who reached the finals and we got a lot of our points that way."

Morgan McCafferty had a record-setting event for Reynoldsburg, as the 12-year-old set SESL meet standards in three events the girls ages 11-12 50 butterfly, the 11-12 50 backstroke and the 11-12 100 individual medley.

McCafferty finished in 28.55 in the 500 fly to break the mark of 29.9 set 34 years ago by Toni Roesch. She won the 200 IM in 1:05.59, beating the record of 1:06.41 set in 2008 by Andrea Cottrell, and won the 50 back in 29.53, bettering her own record of 30.99 set last season.

"We had a lot of kids who came out and swam their best," said Justin Max, a first-year assistant with the Marlins and Ryan's brother. "You can't go out and win this with one or two good swimmers."

McKinley won three individual events for the Marlins, including setting a meet record in the boys 15-18 100 breaststroke. He finished in 1:03.13, topping the record of 1:03.6 that had been set 28 years ago by Carl Rohr. McKinley also won the 15-18 100 fly (56.87) and 15-18 200 IM (2:04.69).

The Reynoldsburg girls 13-14 200 medley relay of Sara Kohs, Marisa Glusich, Lauren Bailey and Drewanne Maffett set the meet record of 2:09.78, breaking the mark of 2:10.15 set by Eastmoor in 2005.

Bethany Luzny won three individual events for the Reynoldsburg girls, finishing first in the 15-18 100 fly (1:13.78), 15-18 100 breast (1:18.14) and 15-18 200 IM (2:38.93). Glusich also won the girls 13-14 50 breast (34.23) and 13-14 100 IM (1:09.55).

Other relay winners for Reynoldsburg were the girls 11-12 200 medley relay of McCafferty, Sofia Jarrell, Svoboda and Acadia Gaver (2:14.56), the girls 13-14 200 free relay of Maffett, Bailey, Kohs and Glusich (1:57.73) and the boys 15-18 200 medley relay of Templeman, McKinley, Kocher and Ryan Max (1:51.05).

Daniel Burkhart (boys 13-14 50 back, 33.89), George Malikian (boys 11-12 50 breast, 41.61), Tyler Mansfield (girls 11-12 50 free, 28.52) and Swanson (boys 15-18 100 back, 56.96) were individual winners for Eastmoor.

Hunter's Ridge and New Albany both won one event. Dylan Warren of Hunter's Ridge won the boys 11-12 100 IM (1:21.42) and New Albany's Brendan Murphy was first in the boys 13-14 100 IM (1:06.17).

New Albany Links swimmers C.J. Trudell (left), Ben Dankow, Eric Vonzastrow and Parker Smith await the start of the medley relay in the 9-10 division July 22.