It was only fitting the Greater Columbus Swim League Championship meet was held at Gahanna, one of two original teams competing 50 years ago.

It was only fitting the Greater Columbus Swim League Championship meet was held at Gahanna, one of two original teams competing 50 years ago.

Now with eight teams, the contest has expanded to a much larger event, averaging more than 100 members per team. All got to race during the two-day event July 19-20.

The Northwest Swim Club (1,678.5 points) and Delaware Aquatic Racing Team (1,022.5) both defended their titles in the senior and junior divisions, respectively.

Northwest was followed in the senior standings by DARTs (1,571), the Highland Otters (1,267), Worthington Wave (1,197), Westerville JC Swim Team (1,108.5), Olympic Swim Club (909), Plain Township Swim & Dive (666) and the Gahanna Sea Lions (507). Worthington (935), Westerville (822), Highland (814), Northwest (725), Olympic Swim (666), Plain Township (646) and Gahanna (270.5) followed DARTs in the junior standings.

According to GCSL President Cheryl Bevan, the periods of dominance are not uncommon at the championship meets.

"It tends to go in cycles," Bevan said. "Right now it could be one team that is pretty strong, but the next few years it could be someone completely different. Gahanna is our smallest team right now, but they used to be one of the biggest."

Ashlee Clegg and Jordan Schmitt were both members of the Gahanna Swim Club since they were in the under-8 division, and eventually stayed on as coaches.

Although the swimmers change, one goal has stayed the same at the meet — to make it as much fun as possible. Part of that atmosphere is the tradition of the coaches dressing in crazy costumes for the meet.

"The costumes are just tradition," Clegg said. "Ever since we were young, the coaches always decked out in them. So, every year we try to be the weirdest and craziest. Yesterday we forgot and our kids got really mad at us, so we had to go all out tonight."

Westerville's Andrew Alfred, 13, said the GCSL meet is his favorite event in his favorite sport.

"I really enjoy swimming a lot," Alfred said. "It's good exercise and it's a lot of fun. It's the only sport I've really stuck with."

The socializing is what DARTs swimmer Anthony Hinton said he likes, but that doesn't keep him from working hard. Hinton, 14, won three events, setting meet records in the boys 14-and-under 50-yard freestyle (23.27) and 50 butterfly (24.69), and the 200 medley relay (1:55.31) with Skylar Pollock, Aaron Maharry, and Andrew Davis.

"I just go to practices and do what the coaches tell me to do," Hinton said. "I like the socialization and my friends. I have more friends on my winter league team, but it's fun. Without (summer league) I probably wouldn't have even got into swimming."

So, with another successful season completed for the GCSL, Schmitt is looking forward to the continued evolution of the league and is excited for next year.

"It started out really small and the teams grow every year," Schmitt said. "There's a bunch of different swim leagues in central Ohio, but this is the most competitive league. The meet grows every year. With more and more people that want to swim, a lot more people will get involved. Other teams always want to join, so it's just a fun experience."

•Multiple winners for WJC were Amanda Poorbaugh in the girls 6-and-under 25-yard backstroke (21.96), the 25 freestyle (18.25), diving (39.85), and was part of the girls 8-and-under 100 medley relay (1:24.01) with Grace Poorbaugh, Audrey Morelock, and Erika Knodel, and the 100 freestyle relay (1:10.72) with Grace Poorbaugh, Morelock and Knodel. Grace Poorbaugh was a multiple winner the relays and the girls 8-and-under breaststoke (20.90) and freestyle (15.71) events, Sandy Whitaker in the boys 18-and under-100 backstroke (54.93), the 100 butterfly (52.42) and the 100 freestyle (49.30); and Jenny Demjanenko in the girls 18-and-under 100 IM (1:04.43), the 100 butterfly (1:00.71) and the 100 freestyle (54.98).

•Hannah Markle was the only multiple winner for the Otters. She won the girls 18-and-under 50 backstroke (1:05.26) and the 200 freestyle relay (1:47.17) with Holly Loushin, Jennifer Bichsel, and Devoney Miller.

Highland's Payton McCarthy races in the 50-yard breaststroke in the girls 10-and-under division July 20 during the GCSL meet.

Nate Stadler of the Westerville Jaycees competes in the boys 10-and-under 50-yard breaststroke July 20 at the GCSL meet.