Throughout the season, Westerville South High School sophomore Jared Higdon wondered if he could qualify for the Division I state swimming and diving meet.

Throughout the season, Westerville South High School sophomore Jared Higdon wondered if he could qualify for the Division I state swimming and diving meet.

It turned out that there was no reason for doubt.

Higdon qualified in two events by placing second in the 100-yard butterfly (51.81 seconds) and fourth in the 200 individual medley (1:56.52) at the district meet on Feb. 19 at Ohio State.

"There were dual meets where I wasn't doing as well as I thought I would be doing," said Higdon, who is seeded 10th in the 100 fly and 15th in the 200 IM. "But I knew at the end of the season I was throwing out some pretty good times and I wasn't tapered yet."

Westerville Central was 10th (93 points), South was 14th (62) and North was 21st (15) behind champion Upper Arlington (432.5) in the boys district meet. In the girls meet, the Warhawks were fourth (198), the Wildcats placed 12th (77) and the Warriors finished 16th (36) behind the first-place Golden Bears (505).

Higdon will be part of a large group of Westerville swimmers at the Division I state meet Thursday, Feb. 24, through Saturday, Feb. 26, at Canton's C.T. Branin Natatorium. Preliminaries for the swimming events are Friday and the finals are Saturday.

At district, the top three finishers in each swimming event and the top four divers automatically advanced to state. Additionally, 11 at-large berths were given out in each swimming event based on times statewide.

Higdon will be joined by Riley Buer, who placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.18) behind Dublin Coffman's Nichole Gill (1:04.98) in the girls district meet. Buer, who tied Loveland's Sammie Wheeler for 12th in the 100 breast (1:07.48) at state last year, is seeded eighth.

"Our kids swam well today. We had some big time drops and we had some where the kids expected to drop more but still had a nice drop," South coach Kevin Kissling said.

•The Central girls advanced four girls in seven individual events and all three of its relays.

All but two of the Warhawks' state qualifiers advanced with at-large berths.

"Making it to states means everything, especially with this being my senior year," said Taylor Schwartz, who placed fourth in the 200 free (1:53.67) and fifth in the 100 back (58.3). "I dropped nearly eight seconds from my sectional time (of 2:00.22 in the 200 free). I haven't been dropping a lot of time all season, but that race was the payoff."

Sophomore Sally Thompson, freshman Alex Schuttinger and seniors Chelsea Staab and Schwartz placed second in the 400 free relay (3:32.68) behind Upper Arlington, which won in a meet-record 3:26.87. Schuttinger, Schwartz, sophomore Marissa Kramer and Thompson placed third in the 200 free relay (1:37.89). The Warhawks are seeded fourth in the 400 free relay and seventh in the 200 free relay.

Advancing individually were Schuttinger, who finished fourth in the 100 free (52.52) and fifth in the 100 breast (1:06.41); Staab, who was sixth in the 500 free (5:09.42); and Thompson, who was sixth in the 50 free (24.65) and fifth in the 100 free (52.65).

"I remember when I made it as a freshman. It was awesome to be there with all these upperclassmen," Schwartz said. "Now it's my turn at being one of those upperclassmen. Hopefully, I'll bring my 'A' game."

•North junior Erick Bey left district knowing he needed to spend more time in the pool.

He finished 14th in the 50 free (22.59) and 11th in the 100 free (49.28).

"It tells me where I need to be for next year. I know how much more I have to improve so I can place higher next year and go to states," Bey said. "I'm going to be doing a lot of practicing, lifting and working out in the offseason."

The Warriors failed to get anyone through to state. For the second year in a row, sophomore diver Mary Dybdahl was a spot away from advancing. She placed fifth with 393.45 points when the top four advanced. Last year, she was seventh (344.85) when the top six advanced.

"This is part of the process," coach Jeff Riegler said. "We had only had one senior here. Everyone else is coming back. Our guys watched that last heat (of the 400 free relay) and thought 'We've got everyone coming back and we're all going to get faster.'"


Below are the state qualifiers with district result and state seed for the Central, North and South boys and girls swimming and diving teams:


Boys - None; Girls - Alex Schuttinger: 100 free (52.52, fourth, 12th), 100 breast (1:06.41, fifth, 15th); Taylor Schwartz: 200 free (1:53.67, fourth, ninth), 100 back (58.3, fifth, 15th); Chelsea Staab: 500 free (5:09.42, sixth, 23rd); Sally Thompson: 50 free (24.65, sixth, 20th), 100 free (52.65, fifth, 13th); 200 free relay (1:37.89, third, seventh); 400 free relay (3:32.68, second, fourth)

Others who competed at district: Boys - Zach Cooke: 200 free (1:58.91, 26th), 500 free (5:28.52, 30th); Dan Fay: 100 back (55.29, 12th), 100 fly (54.07, 11th); Mason Harris: 500 free (4:57.58, 12th), 100 fly (56.50, 19th); Atticus Jordan: 500 free (5:02.51, 17th), 100 fly (54.12, 12th); Matt Phillips: 100 fly (1:00.74, 30th); John Whitaker: 100 breast (1:02.70, 17th), 200 IM (2:05.22, 18th); 200 medley relay (1:40.83, fifth); 200 free relay (1:29.45, seventh); 400 free relay (3:37.66, 19th); Girls - Ashley Atchison: 500 free (5:59.83, 29th); Marissa Kramer: 100 breast (1:13.43, 23rd); 100 fly (1:00.01, ninth); Chloe Merriss: diving (309.75, 11th); Alanna Paynter: 200 free (2:03.48, 18th), 100 fly (1:03.62, 24th); Chelsea Staab: 100 back (1:00.05, 13th); 200 medley relay (1:56.44, 12th)


Boys - None; Girls - None

Others who competed at district: Boys - Erick Bey: 50 free (22.59, 14th), 100 free (49.28, 11th); Danny Donovan: 100 back (1:02.23, 27th); Mike Hicks: 200 free (1:57.79, 24th); Wes Straw: 100 breast (1:07.14, 29th); 200 medley relay (1:53.12, 21st); 200 free relay (1:35.14, 15th); 400 free relay (3:28.24, 16th); Girls - Morgan Bernhard: 100 fly (1:06.36, 30th); Mary Dybdahl: diving (393.45, fifth); Holly Loushin: 100 free (56.84, 24th), 100 breast (1:13.87, 26th); Devoney Miller: 50 free (26.75, 28th), 100 free (57.68, 30th); Rachel Jackson: 100 back (1:00.96, 16th), 100 fly (59.35, eighth); Emily Jeffries: 100 breast (1:13.14, 22nd); Elizabeth Roche: 100 breast (1:13.76, 25th); 200 medley relay (1:56.81, 14th); 200 free relay (1:53.82, 22nd); 400 free relay (3:53.49, 15th)


Boys - Jared Higdon: 100 fly (51.81, second, 10th), 200 IM (1:56.52, fourth, 15th); Girls - Riley Buer: 100 breast (1:05.18, second, eighth)

Others who competed at district: Boys - Cade Buer: 100 breast (1:04.93, 21st), 200 IM (2:06.03, 20th); Jack Dunlope: 200 free (1:59.25, 28th); Gabe Gaudoin-Perry: diving (274.5, 11th); Benson Jung: 200 IM (2:07.81, 22nd); 200 medley relay (1:53.26, 18th); 200 free relay (1:34.88, 14th); 400 free relay (3:27.38, 11th); Girls - Lizzie Gauen: 50 free (24.65, seventh); Anna Hays: 50 free (26.93, 29th); Hannah Markle: 100 free (56.71, 21st); Trisha Tee: 100 fly (1:03.05.05, 14th); Natalie Zaborski: 200 free (2:11.93, 29th), 500 free (5:57.2, 28th); 200 medley relay (1:52.52, ninth); 200 free relay (1:40.99, ninth); 400 free relay (3:43.61, 11th)