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."

The Hilltop boys 11-12 200 free relay of Cole Powers, Joel Serafy, Kasey Browning and Keith Serafy won in 2:13.6.

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).