Olentangy Orange High School swimming and diving coach Dan Harris said he felt good about the way both of his teams performed in the Olentangy-Hilliard Showdown on Jan. 11 at Ohio Wesleyan.
The girls squad finished second (276 points) of seven teams behind Olentangy (313) and the boys team finished third (243.5) of four squads behind Hilliard Darby (324) and Olentangy (310.5).
As good as those performances were, Harris said he was even more impressed that the participating squads combined to raise more than $1,200 for the Wounded Warrior Project, a service organization for wounded veterans.
Harris organized the fundraiser in honor of his friend, Ivan Morera, a sergeant in the U.S. Army who lost his left hand in Afghanistan.
He said the money raised will benefit Nick Vogt, an Ohio-born first lieutenant who had both legs shorn off by a makeshift bomb in Afghanistan.
"I'm excited that our kids swam as well as they did against good competition, but I'm even more excited about what all of the teams accomplished outside of the pool by raising so much money for a great cause," Harris said. "This cause touches me personally as well as several of our students' families, and the entire swimming community came together to support it. I was pleased to see the Hilliard teams step up to the challenge and raise a lot of funds, particularly Darby under coach Brian Dickmann.
"There are a lot of valuable life lessons that you learn through sports and I think this teaches our kids a valuable lesson about the importance of giving back to people."
In the meet, Alyssa Haidet won the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 12.1 seconds) and placed third in the 100 butterfly (1:03.76) to lead the girls team.
Olivia Reynolds won diving (161.62) and Anna Peura finished second in the 100 fly (1:02.86).
Haley Johnson, Joy Wharton, Jasmine Wright and Peura placed second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:50.67), and Kara Miller finished second in the 200 individual medley (2:23.53).
On Jan. 10, the Pioneers finished first (146) in a tri-meet ahead of Centennial (91) and Wellington (67). Haidet won the 100 breaststroke (1:11.62) and 200 free (2:15.17), Miller won the 200 IM (2:24.65) and 500 free (5:37.17), and Peura won the 50 free (26.88) and 100 fly (1:02.48).
For the boys on Jan. 11, Jack Brooks won diving (171.52), while Carson Miller, Andrew Haidet, Matthew Hu and Ric Reynolds finished third in the 200 free relay (1:38.26),
Reynolds finished third in the 50 free (23.43) and Haidet placed fourth in the 100 fly (1:04.43).
On Jan. 10, Orange (132) finished ahead of Centennial (87) and Wellington (76). Reynolds won the 100 free (54.75) and 50 free (23.53), and Haidet won the 200 free (2:11.13).
"It was inspiring to see our kids swim so well (Jan. 11) after winning a meet the night before," Harris said. "We're hitting our stride and our kids are ready for the final push before the postseason."
Braves stand out in Showdown
The Olentangy girls team won the Olentangy-Hilliard Showdown behind several first-place finishes.
Placing first were Kaylyn Cochran, Ellie Nebraska, Erika Poling and Mara Nebraska in the 400 free relay (3:49.26), Cochran, Maura Parker, Ally Fomich and Abbey Newman in the 200 free relay (1:46.47), Ellie Nebraska in the 100 backstroke (1:00.68), Cochran in the 200 free (2:03.49) and the Nebraska sisters, Newman and Parker in the 200 medley relay (1:58.45).
Placing second were Mara Nebraska in the 100 free (55.68), Newman in the 50 free (26.27) and Fomich in the 200 free (2:04.57).
Finishing first for the second-place boys squad were Keanan Fomich in the 200 IM (2:05.02) and Winston Kuriger, Colby Brothers, Fomich and Tyler Norris in the 200 free relay (1:31.65).
Placing second were Kuriger in the 100 free (49.23) and 200 free (1:48.37), Brothers in the 50 free (23.37), Andrew Davis in the 500 free (5:12.58), Fomich in the 100 back (56.11) and Kuriger, Davis, Fomich and Norris in the 400 free relay (3:21.56).
"Competing head-to-head against some of the best teams in central Ohio was a lot of fun and our teams swam well," boys coach Steve Gipe said. "Our boys are really surprising me with their work ethic."
Liberty competes in Northeast Classic
Liberty split each of its squads and competed in two meets Jan. 11.
The girls team finished sixth (84) in the Olentangy-Hilliard Showdown and placed 15th (61) in the Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton behind champion Granville (186) as 38 squads scored.
In the Northeast Classic, Olivia Ball won diving (500.25) and Colleen McHugh was 13th (345.6).
Justine Kenny, Ally Braun, Caroline Racke and Reilly Haas were 11th in the 200 medley relay (1:53.59), Ally Braun, Same Dawson, Bailee Braun and Racke were 11th in the 400 free relay (3:44.85) and Racke, Ally Braun, Dawson and Haas were ninth in the 200 free relay (1:42.31).
Racke was eighth in the 100 fly (1:00.3), Ally Braun was 10th in the 200 free (2:02.03) and Becky Brock was 16th in the 500 free (5:37.02).
The boys team finished 14th (53) in the Northeast Classic behind champion Strongsville (216) as 39 squads scored.
In diving, Cameron Thatcher was second (503.65) and Alex Kowal was eighth (377.95).
Jack Saczawa was third in the 100 back (53.86) and 14th in the 100 fly (55.01), and Tom Dawson was seventh in the 100 breast (1:01.76).
Saczawa, Dawson, Matt Helton and Nicholas Tracewell were 11th in the 200 medley relay (1:42.78), and Tracewell, Saczawa, Turner Schade and Dawson were 12th in the 400 free relay (3:24.01).