If freshman Jesus Caraballo had any nerves about competing in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 11, Thomas Worthington High School senior Sam Reeder quickly put his mind at ease.

If freshman Jesus Caraballo had any nerves about competing in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 11, Thomas Worthington High School senior Sam Reeder quickly put his mind at ease.

Caraballo, Adam Wolf, Reeder and Philip Mueller placed fifth in 3 minutes, 22.26 seconds. Hunting Valley University School won in 3:10.74.

"(Reeder) just came up to us and said, 'Come on. We can do this,'" Caraballo said. "It's very easy for Sam to get us pumped up. He finds a way to unify everyone."

Reeder knows just how important freshmen can be to a relay. When he was a freshman, he swam the anchor leg of the Cardinals' 400 free relay. At the 2008 OCC-Central Division meet, he anchored seniors Trevor Johnson and Andrew Amaya and Mueller to a first-place finish in 3:32.12 to help Thomas defeat Delaware 285-278.

"That was fantastic being able to anchor that relay," Reeder said. "The seniors on that showed me the kind of leader I wanted to be when I was senior."

"Sam and Phil take very seriously their role as leaders on the team," coach Jim Callahan said. "The others see the example they set and follow their lead."

In addition to being a leader on the team, Reeder has become one of the leaders in the area in the 50 free and 100 free. Reeder is ranked first in the Division I Central District honor roll in the 50 free (21.93) and second in the 100 free (48.08). Both times are faster than the ones he turned in at the district meet last year, when he was seventh in the 50 free (21.98) and 13th in the 100 free (48.9).

Reeder picked up both of those times while placing third in the 50 free and the 100 free at the Ned Reeb Invitational. Also at the meet, Claudia Doyle placed first in the 100 backstroke (57.76).

"I love swimming at (Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Center)," Reeder said. "That day I was really focused and had some good times.

"It's really encouraging. I've never done so well at the Ned Reeb Invitational. It really helps me mentally knowing what you can achieve as an individual and as a team."

The team now heads into holiday break training. The Cardinals and Kilbourne will take a two-day training trip to Ohio University on Dec. 27-28. During that time team members will swim about 51,000 meters, roughly 31 miles, including a session in which they swim 100 sets of 100-meter freestyle.

Reeder's goal of breaking the 50-free school record of 21.37 seconds will push him through the training.

"I really want that record," Reeder said. "It's what is fueling me right now."

He has big goals in mind after last season, which was just the second time in Jim Callahan's 28 years as coach that the Cardinals failed to have anyone advance to state.

"Last year I didn't have a good year. I don't think anyone on the team had a good year," Reeder said. "A lot of guys didn't have a positive attitude about practice and they weren't completely willing to race at meets.

"That was one of the things we wanted to change this year. We want to make it a more positive attitude around here. We're sticking around at meets, cheering each other on and I think that's working."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Kilbourne and Thomas swimming and diving teams:

KILBOURNE

Dec. 2 - Boys: Defeated Dublin Scioto 99-82, lost to Dublin Coffman 118-67 and Dublin Jerome 99-86; Girls: Lost to Coffman 139-28, Jerome 147-23 and Scioto 87-57

Dec. 4 - Boys: Finished sixth behind champion Thomas at Athens Invitational; Girls: Finished ninth behind champion Granville. Team scores were not available.

Dec. 7 - Boys: Def. Marysville 85-70; Girls: Lost to Marysville 120-43

Dec. 10 - Competed in Worthington Invitational. Team scores were not kept.

Dec. 11 - Boys: Finished 23rd (38) behind champion Upper Arlington (407) at Ned Reeb Invitational; Girls: Didn't score at meet, won by UA (471).

Dec. 16 - Boys: Def. Westerville North 114-66 and lost to Westerville Central 100-83; Girls: Lost to North 123-39 and Central 141-29

Last Saturday - Competed in Cleveland State Invitational. Team scores were not kept.

Jan. 5 - at Delaware

THOMAS

Dec. 2 - Boys: Def. Coffman 105-78, Jerome 120-65 and Scioto 120-60; Girls: Def. Coffman 103-82, Jerome 98-87 and Scioto 143-29

Dec. 4 - Boys: Finished first at Athens Invitational; Girls: Finished third

Dec. 10 - Competed in Worthington Invitational

Dec. 11 - Boys: Finished eighth (127) at Ned Reeb Invitational; Girls: Finished fifth (166)

Dec. 14 - Boys: Lost to New Albany 94-75; Girls: Def. New Albany 107-61

Dec. 16 - Boys: Def. Westerville North 136-40 and Westerville Central 116-64; Girls: Def. North 122-58 and lost to Central 93-90

Last Saturday - Competed at Cleveland State Invitational. Boys: Sam Reeder was fourth (48.88) in 100 free. Girls: Claudia Doyle in 100 backstroke (57.69) and 200 medley relay (1:51.21) were second. Doyle in 100 free (54.41) and 400 free relay (3:45.54) were fifth.

Jan. 5 - Home vs. Olentangy Liberty