Only time will tell whether the New Albany High School swimming and diving teams will be mentioned as postseason powers next to the likes of Upper Arlington, St. Charles and Watterson.

Only time will tell whether the New Albany High School swimming and diving teams will be mentioned as postseason powers next to the likes of Upper Arlington, St. Charles and Watterson.

But the Eagles, who are entering their third season in Division I, think the boys squad has the potential to be the program's best in recent years.

The boys return three seniors from a team that scored 64 points to finish 12th in the state meet behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (312). The Eagles need to find a replacement for 2011 graduate Alex Alfonso, who led the team at state with fifth-place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle (21.31 seconds) and 100 free (46.62).

"Having been there and done that is helpful," assistant coach John Coffman said. "It's a confidence boost, especially later in the season against the best of the best. That's what we'll work the entire season for, to swim our best then."

Alfonso, who now swims at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., also was on the eighth-place 400 free relay (3:12.13) with classmates Cullen Challacombe and David Huddle and then-junior Frederick Jenny.

Huddle finished third in the 100 butterfly (52.38) at district to advance to state, where he finished 18th in the preliminaries (53.01) and did not advance to the finals. He also was on the 200 free relay with Alfonso, Chase Honeycutt and Jenny; they won district (1:26.66) and finished 10th (1:27.22) at state.

The seniors are Jenny, butterfly specialist Honeycutt and Zach Berks, whom Coffman called "a versatile swimmer we can plug into several different events, sort of our utility guy."

Behind them will be juniors John Angell and Philip Smoyer, who will swim mostly sprints and butterfly, junior Corey Ziegler, who will specialize in the backstroke, and sophomore Nick Noe, a distance specialist.

"Right now we're unsure exactly who will be on our relay teams, but we hope to have at least one challenge for (a) state (berth)," Coffman said.

New Albany begins its season Thursday, Dec. 1, at home against Olentangy Orange.

The Eagles won the OCC-Capital Division last year, scoring 432 points in the league meet to finish ahead of Delaware (285), Mount Vernon (166), Orange (119), Watkins Memorial (74), Big Walnut (60) and Hilliard Bradley (42). They finished first (238.5) in the Worthington sectional ahead of Big Walnut (221) and Thomas Worthington (195.5), and third (197.5) at district behind champion Upper Arlington (432.5) and St. Charles (347.5).

•Seniors Stephanie Jones and Sam Budin will help pace the girls team, which returns three members of the 200 free relay that finished 23rd at state (1:40.88).

Also back are juniors Elly Gleason and Haley McLellan. Olivia Barnes, the fourth member of that relay, and freestyle specialist Rachel Burgei were the only two girls swimmers to graduate.

Jones is a sprint specialist, Gleason is adept at the backstroke, fly and free, and McLellan is a versatile contributor who likely will compete in the fly and backstroke.

Other girls contributors will include sophomore Amanda Jenny and freshman Taylor Berend.

"We're going to be a little less experienced, so we'll be looking for more girls to step up," Coffman said. "Once we get some meets under our belt, we'll have a better idea."

Like the boys, the girls won a league title last season. They scored 343 points to outdistance Delaware (268), Orange (174), Mount Vernon (155), Bradley (114), Big Walnut (112) and Watkins Memorial (98) in the league meet.

The girls were third (148) at the Worthington sectional behind Thomas (194) and Olentangy Liberty (173). At district, they were eighth behind UA (505), which won its 12th consecutive district title.