At the end of the Westerville Invitational last Saturday, Westerville North High School swimming and diving coach Jeff Riegler looked at the faces of the members of his team and grinned.

At the end of the Westerville Invitational last Saturday, Westerville North High School swimming and diving coach Jeff Riegler looked at the faces of the members of his team and grinned.

"We're in a pretty tired state of training right now, but these kids really battled," Riegler said. "Everyone's dead tired. We don't have a meet for three weeks and now (winter break) training is coming up."

In the showdown of the Westerville schools, the Central boys team defeated North 106.5-69.5 and South 104-79 and South defeated North 91-86 in separately scored dual meets. On the girls side, Central defeated North 111-74 and South 111-72 and South defeated North 103-75.

"This meet kind of put things into prospective of what I need to do over the next two weeks to get ready for February," said North senior Conor O'Rourke, who won the 100-yard backstroke in 58.32 seconds.

Central, which competed in the Delaware County Classic last Tuesday at Ohio Wesleyan University, was the only Westerville school to compete over the break.

The work the Warhawks, Warriors and Wildcats put in the next two weeks could determine just how well they do at the end of the season.

"All sorts of things go into the planning," South coach Kevin Kissling said. "Every coach comes up with their winter training plan based on what they think is best for the team and what resources are available to them."

Kissling uses every resource he has available to him during a series of two-a-days. South runs a two-and-a-half-hour normal practice during the morning. Then in the evening, Kissling often has his athletes swim while pulling buckets or a bag of shoes to help them develop power.

"Swimming with a bucket behind you is like running with a parachute," said South senior Lizzie Gauen, who placed second in the 50 freestyle (26.99) last Saturday.

Gauen missed the winter break training when she was a freshman and found out that she not only missed out on conditioning, but the social aspect of the training.

"Basically, during the break, it feels like we're living together," Gauen said. "(After the morning practices), we'll go to someone's house, watch a movie and eat and not move at all (until the evening practice)."

The highlight of North's training session will be a three-day trip to Bowling Green State University, starting Monday. The Warriors will go through two-hour practice sessions twice a day while at BGSU.

"There's a lot of hard work, but you grit your teeth and get through it," O'Rourke said. "It's the hardest part of the season, but you feel like you're doing the most work and seeing the most improvement in your swimming."

"At Bowling Green, they're totally focused on practicing, and that helps with the team bonding," Riegler said. "They need to mentally keep their eyes on the prize at the end of the year."

Central coach Ron Staab prefers to keep his team in town during the winter break. Each swimmer will log nearly 25 miles in the pool each of the two weeks, spending up to two-and-a-half hours in the pool and up to three hours a day doing dry-land training.

"We just prefer to stay here," Staab said. "The time we would've spent in cars (traveling) and doing all that other stuff is time we could spend swimming."

"Winter training is always the hardest part of the year," said senior Mason Harris, who was third in the 100 butterfly (1:03.21) and third in the 200 free (1:58.88) last Saturday. "When you get out of the pool, you're dead (tired). But at the end of the year, everyone was totally surprised by the drop in their time."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Central, North and South swimming and diving teams:

CENTRAL

Dec. 4 - Boys: Defeated Beavercreek 110-60 and lost to Dublin Coffman 95-80; Girls: Def. Beavercreek 116-59 and Coffman 95-81

Dec. 10 - Boys: Def. Olentangy 111-65; Girls: Lost to Olentangy 119-65

Dec. 11 - Boys: Tied for 32nd (8) at Ned Reeb Invitational behind champion Hunting Valley University School (312); Girls: Finished seventh (98) behind champion Upper Arlington (349)

Dec. 16 - Boys: Def. Worthington Kilbourne 100-83 and lost to Thomas Worthington 116-64

Last Saturday - Boys: Def. North 106.5-69.5 and South 104-79; Girls: Def. North 111-74 and South 111-72

Last Tuesday - Competed at Delaware County Classic at Ohio Wesleyan

Jan. 8 - Olentangy Liberty at Westerville Community Center

NORTH

Dec. 3 - Boys: Lost to Dublin Jerome 109-73; Girls: Lost to Jerome 118-66

Dec. 4 - Boys: Finished second (123) at 14-team Waynesville Swimvitational behind champion Grandview (129); Girls: Finished first (136)

Dec. 11 - Boys: Tied for 45th (1) at Ned Reeb Invitational; Girls: Tied for 37th (4)

Dec. 16 - Boys: Lost to Kilbourne 114-66 and Thomas 136-40

Last Saturday - Boys: Lost to Central 106.5-69.5 and South 91-86; Girls: Lost to Central 111-74 and South 103-75

Jan. 7 - Olentangy Liberty at Powell YMCA

SOUTH

Dec. 3 - Boys: Tied Dublin Scioto at 89; Girls: Def. Scioto 118-49

Dec. 4 - Boys: Finished first (86) at five-team Columbus Academy Relays; Girls: Finished third (66) behind Delaware (98) and Academy (72)

Dec. 10 - Boys: Lost to Coffman 62-40 and Jerome 59-43; Girls: Lost to Coffman 61-41 and Jerome 59-43

Dec. 11 - Boys: Tied for 32nd (8) at Ned Reeb Invitational; Girls: Tied for 24th (28)

Last Friday - Boys: Lost to Gahanna 102-81; Girls: Def. Gahanna 95-84

Last Saturday - Boys: Def. North 91-86 and lost to Central 104-74; Girls: Def. North 103-75 and lost to Central 111-72

Tuesday - Grove City at Westerville Community Center