When he turned 9, New Albany High School senior Alex Alfonso thought he was done with competitive swimming. Now he hopes he's just beginning.

When he turned 9, New Albany High School senior Alex Alfonso thought he was done with competitive swimming. Now he hopes he's just beginning.

Alfonso placed first in the 50-meter freestyle in 24.7 seconds in the boys 15-and-over age group to help New Albany Country Club place first in boys competition and in the overall team standings at the Country Club League championship July 19 at Ohio State.

The Penguins scored 2,635 points in the combined boys and girls competition to win their first championship since 2002. Wedgewood was second with 2,467.5, followed by The Lakes (2,090.5), Scioto (1,928), Worthington Hills (1,425.5), Kinsale (1,376), Tartan Fields (1,214), Muirfield (1,006), Jefferson (968.5), Brookside (938), Medallion (839) and Columbus (32).

"Once I started up again, I realized I could be good at this," said Alfonso, who took a six-year break before returning to swim competitively last summer. "I've seen a lot of improvement. I've done a lot more training and took things a lot more seriously this year."

New Albany won the boys portion of the Country Club League championship with 1,358 points, finishing ahead of runner-up The Lakes (1,231.5) and third-place Wedgewood (1,075).

Thomas Lennox won the 25 free (17.3), 25 breaststroke (22.26) and 25 backstroke (20.97) in the boys 7-8 group.

On the girls side for New Albany, Natalie Oien, Alaina Bernsdorf, Olivia Bergmann, and Mia Lachey broke the meet record in the 100 medley relay (1:22.38) in the 8-and-under group and Haley McLellan, Caroline Chesrown, Lauren Cullen and Taylor Berend set the record in the 200 medley relay (2:10.45) in the 13-14 group. McLellan also won the 50 free (28.55) and 50 backstroke (32.58) in her age group. Ava Lachey won the 25 free (21.94) in the 6-and-under.

"When we scored the meet out (with preliminary times), I had us neck and neck with Wedgewood," said New Albany coach Stephanie Donley, whose team was fourth last year. "We really worked on the kids with stroke technique and when the technique is there, it all falls into place."

Wedgewood was first in the girls competition with 1,392.5 points, edging runner-up New Albany (1,277). Emily Huber set the meet record in the 25 butterfly (18.23) in the 8-and-under group. Julia St. John won the 50 free (32.11) and 25 back (17.56) in the 9-10 group.

For Wedgewood's boys team, Patrick Young, Reed McGraw, Colin Reardon and Jack Mills shattered a 12-year-old record by 5.35 seconds in the 200 medley relay (2:16.3) in the 11-12 group. Mills, Matt Helton, Derek Nguyen and McGraw broke the record in the 200 free relay (2:08.19) in the 11-12 group.

In the diving competition July 14 at Columbus Country Club, Wedgewood's Hunter Atha placed first in the 15-18 group with 190.75 points and his brother Tanner placed first (115.1) in the 13-14 group.

Hunter felt the competition was just what he needed to break out of the summer doldrums before heading off to the AAU national meet Aug. 1-9 in Coral Springs, Fla.

"I felt like I have been in a rut. I hadn't really been progressing," he said. "Last week in practice, I felt like I was getting better."

•SIBLING RIVALRY — The Agee sisters dominated the 50 breast for Medallion. Moments after Adrienne Agee won the 50 breast (36.49) in the 13-14 group, Haley Agee won the event (36.4) in the 15-and-over group.

"Normally I am not that close to her, but she beat me by .09 of a second," Adrienne said. "We definitely push each other. We always go behind each other's blocks and cheer each other on. It gives me a good confidence boost for the coming year."

•RECORD BREAKERS — A total of eight records were broken at the meet.

Worthington Hills' Nick Ramos broke an eight-year record in the 50 back (32.55) in the boys 11-12 group. Scioto's Grace McCarthy set a new mark in the 25 back (20.77) in the girls 7-8 group and Brookside's Jacob Schuster, Adam Rabe, Andrew Rabe and Keeler Callahan broke the record in the 200 medley record (1:50.34) in the boys 15-and-over group.

Schuster, who won the 50 back (27.35) for the third consecutive year, said it was the perfect way to close out his country club swimming career.

"I've been doing country club swimming since I was 9 and I just wanted to finish strong," he said. "Because the races are shorter, you can't let up. Each race can be decided by .01 of a second, so you never know what is going to happen."

Max Walter of the Scioto Country Club gets ready for the start of the 25-meter backstroke in the 7-8 age division July 19 during the Country Club League meet.

Scioto Country Club's Amy Griffith (left) and Molly Plasket relax during the County Club meet.