Three-time Division I state qualifier Riley Buer has returned to lead the Westerville South High School girls swimming and diving team.
The senior finished 22nd in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 7.2 seconds last season in the state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton. She was the only state qualifier for the Wildcats, who did not score. Upper Arlington (300 points) won its eighth consecutive state title as 55 teams scored.
Buer placed eighth in the 100 breast (1:05.99) at state as a sophomore after tying for 12th (1:07.48) in the event as a freshman.
"Our girls team isn't quite as deep as our boys team. We're a smaller team," ninth-year coach Kevin Kissling said. "I expect Riley to qualify in two events at the state meet."
The other event is the 200 individual medley. Last season, Buer set the program record in the event when she placed fifth in the district meet at Ohio State in 2:10.14. The final at-large state-qualifying time in the event was 2:09.89.
Buer placed fourth in the 100 breast (1:06.21) at district last season to earn an at-large state berth, as the top two finishers in each swimming event at district automatically qualified for state.
South returns two other district qualifiers in senior Olivia Watkins and junior Corrina Talamo. Watkins was part of the 200 medley relay that finished 14th (1:55.31) and the 200 freestyle relay that finished 13th (1:45.36), and Talamo competed in the 500 free (5:37.66, 18th) and 200 free (2:05.71, tied for 23rd).
Buer also was on the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay that finished 11th (3:49.53).
"I believe Corrina Talamo is going to improve a ton, more than she ever has before," Kissling said. "I really believe she is going to give herself an outside chance of going to the state meet."
Other swimmers for the Wildcats are junior Anna Dunlope, sophomores Lauren Frank, Amanda Gesouras, Rachel Nicodemus, Amanda Phillips, Clelia Rose and Tiffany Schafer and freshmen Adriana Anguiana, Abbie Kotik, Lauren Seitz and Korall Titus-Carr.
Schafer also is a diver, as is junior Dominique Dosky.
The Wildcats opened Dec. 1, finishing third (60) in the Columbus Academy Relays behind Delaware (114) and Academy (88) and ahead of Gahanna (50), Bexley (46) and Wellington (30).
South lost to Dublin Coffman 118-52 in a dual meet Dec. 7 and finished 28th (26) in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 8 at Ohio State behind champion UA (439) as 48 teams scored.
Last season, South tied New Albany for third (162) in the 11-team sectional at Thomas Worthington behind Thomas (262) and Delaware (213) and finished 14th (55) at district behind champion UA (522) as 27 teams scored.
South finished fifth (147) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet behind Olentangy Liberty (261), Westerville Central (245), Dublin Jerome (226) and Olentangy (155) and ahead of Marysville (114), Westerville North (94) and Dublin Scioto (92).
As part of OCC realignment, Liberty and Marysville moved to the OCC-Central and Olentangy moved to the OCC-Capital. Those teams were replaced by Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby and Worthington Kilbourne.
Warhawks return three state qualifiers
Central returns three state qualifiers in seniors Marissa Kramer and Sally Thompson and junior Alex Schuttinger.
Kramer, Thompson, Schuttinger and 2012 graduate Taylor Swartz placed fifth in the 400 free relay (program-record 3:32.6) and seventh in the 200 free relay (1:38.23). Thompson and Schuttinger also competed in the 100 free, finishing 10th (52.78) and 11th (52.79), respectively.
Central finished 12th (65) at state.
"We'd definitely like to get the same number of relays back to state and have an equal or better placement in the relays," said Austin Staab, who is sharing coaching duties with Kelli Downey.
Also back is senior Chloe Merriss, who placed eighth (356.8 points) in diving at district last season.
Junior Dariyn Stedman and sophomore Kaylor Schuttinger are returning district qualifiers. Stedman finished 26th in the 100 butterfly (1:03.39) and was on the 200 medley relay that finished 21st (2:01.24), and Schuttinger tied for 23rd in the 200 free (2:05.71) and 30th in the 500 free (5:50.87).
Also at district, Thompson placed fifth in the 50 free (24.54), Kramer finished 11th in the 100 fly (58.79) and 17th in the 100 breast (1:09.62) and Alex Schuttinger finished 12th in the 100 breast (1:08.37).
Other returnees are senior Ellen Denzel, juniors Ashley Atchison, Elaine Gray and Wahito Njau and sophomores Emily Bateman, Hannah Leedy, Sarah Reed and Emily Thomson.
Denzel and Gray are divers. Last year at district, Denzel tied for 21st (131.8) and Gray finished 24th (126.1).
Also on the team are senior Cassidy Stecklein, junior Sarah Cronin, sophomore Kelsea Harter and Jeni Schorling and freshmen Nicole Brown, Justine Clark, Elaine Cooke, Maddie Cronin, Jackie Kay and Katie Welsh.
Schorling and Cronin are divers.
Central finished 21st (55) in the Ned Reeb Invitational.
Last season, the Warhawks finished third (141) in the 12-team sectional at UA behind champion UA (446) and fifth (153) at district.
Warriors return six district qualifiers
North returns eight swimmers, including six district qualifiers in seniors Devoney Miller, Missy Weaver and Ellen Williams, juniors Morgan Bernhard and Emily Jeffries and sophomore Kaylee Kendall.
Bernhard competed at district in the 500 free (5:35.94, 15th) and 200 free (2:03.03, 17th) as well as on the 200 medley relay that placed 12th (1:54.89) and the 200 free relay that finished 15th (1:46.15).
Miller placed 18th in the 50 free (25.74) and tied for 23rd in the 100 free (55.79) and was on the 200 medley and 200 free relays. Jeffries finished 16th in the 100 breast (1:09.33) and 17th in the 200 IM (2:21.82) and was on the 200 medley relay, and Williams finished 28th in the 100 breast (1:15.92).
Weaver was on the 400 free relay that finished 20th (4:02.82) and the 200 free relay and Kendall was a member of all three relays.
North did not have any state qualifiers last season.
The other returnees are senior Jenny Holt and junior Emma Clark.
Other swimmers are seniors Heidi Engelhardt and Rachel Jackson, junior Morgan Morris, sophomores Justys Callaway and Elizabeth White and freshmen Bailey Bernhard and Hana Matsumoto.
"We have a pretty good shot (of having state qualifiers)," 13th-year coach Jeff Riegler said. "We'd like to get a relay or two and maybe some individuals."
North opened Nov. 30 by defeating Lexington 100-80 in a dual meet and finished 17th (67) in the Ned Reeb Invitational.
Last season, the Warriors finished sixth (93) in the UA sectional and 18th (30) at district.