Greater Columbus Swim League
Chin leads Northwest to another title
Earlier this month, Upper Arlington High School sophomore swimmer Abby Chin competed at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb.
Three weeks later the stakes weren't nearly so high, but Chin again was swimming for pride as she helped lead her Northwest Swim Club team to its third consecutive Greater Columbus Swim League Senior Division title.
The event was held at Highlands Park pool in Westerville on July 21-22, with 762 swimmers and divers competing.
"The pool doesn't make any money off of this, the city doesn't make any money off of it," commissioner Janice Clegg said. "It's all put together for the kids. Everybody wants to do it for the kids."
Northwest cruised to the title, totaling 1,713 points. Highlands Park was second (1,180.5).
The Worthington Wave earned its second consecutive junior division title, finishing with 1,262 points, followed by the Delaware Aquatic Race Team (1,083).
"This is where it starts," Wave coach Stephanie Osman said of the junior division. "It's a great feeling only because we have so many kids and they all work so hard. To bring the majority of our 10-and-unders to championships and have them swim and then win, it feels great."
Chin played a key role in her team's victory. She spearheaded Northwest's sweep in the 14-and-younger 50-yard butterfly, finishing first in 29.92 seconds as teammates Camey Rabold (30.8) and Elizabeth Harty (31.34) rounded out the top three.
Chin was first in the 100 individual medley (1:07.30) and 50 backstroke (31.03).
Hayley Bratys joined Chin, Rabold and Harty to win the 200 freestyle relay (1:54.39) and 200 medley relay (2:06.66).
All five wins for Northwest were meet records.
At the Olympics trials, Chin was 131st in the 100-meter fly (1:03.88), 75th in the 400 IM (5:00.57) and tied for 88th in the 200 fly (2:20.16).
"There was a little more pressure out in Omaha, but this meet is great because you can still have so much fun," Chin said. "Even though there's less pressure, it's just great to be with the whole team and have a team that is so close as ours."
Olympic's Gracie Finnegan, who joined Chin at the trials, took first in the 18-and-younger 100 free (meet-record 57.93), 100 back (1:06.88) and 100 IM (meet-record 1:06.95).
At the Olympic trials, Finnegan was 93rd in the 100 free (57.92).
For Northwest coach Mike de Bear, his main assignment in the summer is not only to stress fundamentals, but also to provide a fun atmosphere.
"Summer swimming is a lot different than high school," de Bear said. "Our No. 1 goal is to keep kids having fun and enjoy the experience."
Under de Bear, the club has also won four junior titles.
Westerville JC swept the diving event, which was held July 18-19 at Gahanna. The junior team captured first with 131.5 points and the seniors were first with 218.5.
Before the swimming finals, the league recognized Amanda Schneider by inducting her into its hall of fame. Schneider, 31, is a former member of the Gahanna Sea Lions. She earned several honors in the sport, including representing the United States at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where she finished fifth in the 200 back.
"I'm honored," Schneider said. "It's obviously a league that I grew up swimming in, so there are a lot of great memories in it for me. Whenever you're here you're just here to have fun. This is the basics of swimming where you learn to fall in love with the sport and have fun with it."
At a glance
Northwest (1,713), Highlands Park (1,180.5), Delaware (1,149.5), Westerville JC (1.000), Worthington (906.5), Gahanna (895), Olympic (875.5), Plain Township (247), Northland (164)
Worthington (1,262), Delaware (1,083), Highlands (829.5), Northwest (802.5), Olympic (654), Plain Township (477), Westerville JC (472.5), Gahanna (439), Northland (182.5)