Competing against some of the who's who of Ohio high school swimming, Reynoldsburg freshman Morgan McCafferty felt in her element in the Division I state meet Feb. 24 and 25 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Competing against some of the who's who of Ohio high school swimming, Reynoldsburg freshman Morgan McCafferty felt in her element in the Division I state meet Feb. 24 and 25 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

It showed in her 100-yard backstroke performance.

Seeded 11th, McCafferty swam the event in 57.56 seconds in her preliminary heat to reach the final, where she placed 12th in 57.7. In the district meet Feb. 18 at Ohio State, she placed fifth in 57.46.

"This was an amazing experience. I wasn't nervous at all," McCafferty said. "I really, really liked the experience."

McCafferty's only complaint was her second leg in the final, as it took her 29.69 after completing the first leg in 28.01.

"My second turn was really bad. I got stuck on a wall," she said. "I felt like I could have done so much better, but oh well, I have three more (state meets) left.

"All year I've felt pretty good. My (100 butterfly) was really on, but I didn't make it (to state) in that (after finishing 13th at district in 59.99). But I didn't really care because the backstroke is my best event."

McCafferty was Reynoldsburg's first state qualifier since 2006, when Justin Max qualified in the 100 breaststroke and 100 fly, finishing 11th and 18th, respectively.

McCafferty's trip to state was the culmination of a fruitful first year at Reynoldsburg for coach Stephanie Kiss, who competed on Worthington's 1989 Division I state championship team and was hired in July 2011 to replace two-year coach Susan Tonjes.

The boys and girls both earned fifth-place finishes in the OCC-Ohio Division meet on Jan. 28 and combined to send five individuals and five relays to district.

The boys team scored 116 points in the league meet to finish behind Pickerington North (365), Gahanna (227), Lancaster (211) and Grove City (151) and ahead of Pickerington Central (80) and Newark (5). Groveport does not have a swimming program.

The girls team scored 174.5 points in the league meet to finish behind Gahanna (241), North (238.5), Central (220) and Grove City (198) and ahead of Lancaster (126) and Newark (1).

At district, the boys team scored two points to finish 25th behind champion Upper Arlington (435) and the girls team scored 46 points to place 16th behind champion UA (522).

In the sectional meet on Feb. 11 at UA, the boys team scored 37 points and finished ninth of 12 teams behind champion UA (397.5) and the girls team scored 73 points and finished seventh of 12 teams behind champion UA (446).

Kiss thinks those finishes and further postseason success, which were achieved despite the loss of two January dual meets because of facility conflicts, give the Raiders a head of steam entering the offseason.

"I couldn't be happier," she said. "We trained three days a week, four hours in the water (and) to be able to do that and produce the type of athletes and the times and swims that we have, I'm so excited for next year. (I'm excited about) just getting in the pool, getting some higher competition for next year for our weekly swims. I'm ecstatic."

So were her swimmers, many of whom wore wide grins in the district meet. Perhaps none was larger than that of senior Andrew Templeman, whose time of 5:05.6 in the 500 free - good for 15th place and the team's only two points of the day - set a school record.

Templeman is the only senior for the boys team. The girls team loses three seniors in Meghan Crawford, Rhea Eubanks and Sarah McCabe.

"This was our goal, right here. Lots of smiles. People are happy, the kids are happy," Kiss said. "Seeing those smiles, that's all that matters."