Greater Columbus Swim League
'Team effort' lifts DARTS to title
The Delaware Aquatic Racing Team Stingrays continued its recent domination of the Greater Columbus Swim League while also showcasing its facility.
The club won its third consecutive overall league championship in the meet held July 23 and 24 at the Jack Florance Pool in Delaware.
It was the first time in the club's 34 years that it played host to the event.
There were 763 athletes in the 52nd annual event.
"It took a lot of volunteers, a lot of hours, but it was great," said Julie Weller, a member of the club's board of directors. "It was great to host it and show off our pool, show off our community. It was definitely worthwhile and we would love to host it again."
DARTS finished first (2,589 points) ahead of Highlands (2,216), Northwest (2,107), Worthington (2,048.5), Westerville JC (1,823.5), Olympic (1,724.5), Plain Township (1,506) and Gahanna (807.5).
"It was a complete team effort," DARTS coach Bill Rietz said. "That's the divers, the juniors, the seniors combined together. It really makes for a satisfying feeling."
DARTS placed first (1,177) in the junior division and Northwest was first (1,482.5) in the senior division.
For Olentangy High School's Keanan Fomich and Delaware Hayes' Regan DeWitt, the league not only provides training and competition in preparation for the school season, but it also allows the swimmers to interact with new teammates.
Both played roles in DARTS' win.
DeWitt was second in the U18 100-yard butterfly (1 minute, 2.61 seconds) and swam on the second-place 200 medley (1:54.93) and 200 freestyle (1:45.4) relays.
"It feels really good, especially when I was younger and seeing all the seniors do really well," DeWitt said. "It feels good being on top now."
Fomich was third in the U18 100 fly (58.92).
"It feels great to be a part of something that you get rewarded for all the hard work you've done over the season," Fomich said. "We swim for club teams, we go to practice every day and we eventually get better over time."
Competing in the U10 division, DARTS' William Elsrod won the 100 individual medley (1:18.14) and 50 breast (39.99) and was part of the first-place 100 medley (1:13.15) and 100 free (1:02) relays.
Highlands used a balanced effort to finish second overall.
"The kids did a really good job," said coach Jeff Riegler, whose team is based in Westerville. "It was one of our better days because we had more swims with some of our better kids. We had a lot of kids who did really well."
Northwest coach Russell Jurg was pleased with his team's effort.
"It was exciting," Jurg said. "There were a lot of meet records broken and a lot of first-place finishes by our team. It was a great way to finish off the summer. We look forward to this meet every year. We get psyched up just for championships."
Jurg and his coaching staff wore patriotic attire during the meet, which not only promotes competition but also emphasizes fun.
Several Northwest athletes recognized their coach by wearing "Russellmania II" tank tops.
Gracie Long, who will be a sophomore at Upper Arlington and helped the Golden Bears girls team win its eighth consecutive Division I state title last February, was one of several key swimmers for Northwest.
Competing in the U18 division, Long won the 100 IM (1:02.16), 100 breast (1:08.29) and 100 free (53.46). She also was part of the first-place 200 medley (1:52.76) and 200 free (1:44.67) relays.
Her brother, Joey, who will be a senior at UA, won the 100 fly (48.45) and was part of the first-place 200 free relay (1:31.62).
Ohio State recruit Camey Rabold, who graduated from Watterson this year and won the 200 free in a team-record 1:49.52 in the Division I state meet, also played a role in Northwest's effort.
She won the 100 back (58.18) and 100 fly (1:00.78) and joined Long on the winning 200 medley and 200 free relays.
Thomas Trace, who will be a junior at UA, won the 100 back (55.01) and 100 IM (54.77) and was a member of the winning 200 free relay.
Westerville JC swept the diving competition, which was held July 20 in Gahanna.
The boys finished with 149 points and the girls had 223.
"I'm very happy," Westerville JC coach Kelli Downey said of her team's overall effort. "We did really well. I'm very proud of our kids and I'm impressed with how they swam. It was a great way to end the season. We always want to make sure the kids are having a great time and (the coaches) also try to have a good time."