After her team's first meet last season, Canal Winchester High School swimming coach Julie Pastor placed lofty expectations on then-freshman Blake Fry, saying she thought he could make the Division I state meet in at least one event.
Fry proved Pastor correct, placing 22nd in the 100-yard breaststroke and 23rd in the 500 freestyle.
This season, Pastor thinks freshman Korbin Martino -- one of several underclassmen for whom she has high hopes -- could follow suit.
"I really want him to make it in (a) freestyle (event)," said Pastor, who is in her seventh season. "We have a lot of talent. We have some boys with a chance to do something. They are coming together well. Korbin is really fast; his freestyle times are about 24 or 25 seconds.
"We have a lot of talent. We will do something this year."
Fry was the Indians' only state qualifier last season, but three others with state-meet experience return for the girls team in seniors Hannah Olger and Kassidy Pastor and junior Grace Riddle. All three girls were part of the 200 free relay that finished 13th two seasons ago, and Riddle placed ninth in the 100 backstroke as a freshman.
Riddle and the 200 free relay fell short of returning to state last season.
"I've already been starting with faster times than I had last year, especially in the 200 free," Riddle said. "I am still working on my backstroke and hoping to get it back to where it was my freshman year.
"(Getting back to state) is a lot of motivation. At first, it kind of made me lose some because I was just unhappy about not making it back (last season). But I've come back and worked a lot harder and we're training harder at this point in the season. It's exciting. I am planning on doing a lot better. I feel a lot better in the water (and) I have a much better overall attitude."
Canal Winchester set six meet records in the season-opening Athens Invitational on Dec. 2 at Ohio University. The girls finished second (168 points) of 18 teams behind Delaware (194), and the boys were fifth (85) of 14 teams behind champion Columbus Academy (219).
Setting meet records were Fry in the 500 free (5 minutes, 2.39 seconds), Olger in the 100 free (54.6), Kassidy Pastor in the 200 individual medley (2:21.42), Riddle in the 200 free (2:00.66) and 500 free (5:28.88) and the 200 free relay of Olger, Pastor, junior Karenna Reed and Riddle (1:43.67).
"I have more I want to work toward, but it's going to take a lot of work," Fry said. "Last year, I don't know what the word is -- I was happy to be there. I am still happy. I'm loving this, but I am looking for more. I think I know what I am capable of achieving. It makes me realize what I have to do to get there, what has to happen at district and throughout the season."
Rounding out the girls roster are seniors Erica Babusci, Emily Clubb, Jessica Diskin, Julia Kotwis, Kate Ozebec, Kaitlin Swearingen and Kaitlin Vojacek, juniors Leah Bates, Emma Preston, Lauren Preston and Corinne Somers, sophomores Alana Mounts and Mikaela Vojacek and freshmen Isabella Byrd, Allena Klamorick, Kierra Martin, Merideth McFarland, Sophia Riddle and Reagan Wildermuth.
Also on the boys team are senior Jake Smithers, juniors Corey Berner, Will Butler, Noah Pence and Kobe Stone, sophomore Drew Kotwis and freshmen Kaylor Byrd, Lucas Elizondo, Ian Lewis and Brett Smithers.
Babusci has signed to run track and field at the University of Pittsburgh.
Last season, the girls finished second (289) in the OCC-Capital Division meet behind New Albany (519) and the boys were third (156) behind New Albany (427) and Big Walnut (285).
Coach Pastor said this likely will be her final season, coinciding with her daughter's graduation, and she wants a memorable exit.
"I want more of us to be at district," coach Pastor said. "We all get to swim at sectional. We can go a little bit faster and make district."
Experience to guide wrestling team
The wrestling team recorded two lopsided wins to start the season, but first-year coach Harrison Rosch was more pleased with the means to that end than the results.
Canal Winchester went 2-0 in a season-opening tri-meet Dec. 7 at Bexley, defeating Mount Gilead 57-18 and the host Lions 60-18.
"We had some mistakes, but at the end of the day, the guys wrestled hard. They were good performances for the first matches of the year," Rosch said. "They made some mistakes but kept wrestling through them. They wrestled harder as the matches went on. I was happy with our culture. We were cheering each other on and picking each other up when we were down. I'm truly proud of the guys for coming together."
The Indians have returned one Division I district qualifier in sophomore Chance Brown, who finished 39-11 at 145 pounds last season and has moved up to 152 this season, and two other wrestlers who won at least 20 matches last season in senior Matt Kamer (195/220, 23-20) and junior Cameron Cross (160/170, 21-21).
Other returnees include senior Charles Gerth (195), junior Brack Byorth (heavyweight) and sophomores Camden Butterbaugh (120) and J.J. Mattox (160/170).
Rosch called a six-member sophomore class and his middle weights the team's strengths.
"We're pretty strong from 138 all the way up to 220," Rosch said. "(In) our upper weights and our light weights, we're young, but in the middle weights, we have a lot of depth and experience."
Rosch replaced Jordan Cramer, who coached the Indians for two seasons.
A 2009 Canal Winchester graduate, Rosch was a two-time state qualifier and played football at Otterbein University.
Rounding out the roster are senior Angelo Hubbard (220/heavyweight), juniors Adam Farley (145), Jarrett Francis (152), James Guccione (145) and Jacob Herbert (126), sophomores Michael Gallagher (138), Matthias Hodge (138) and Patrick Zamble (182) and freshmen Trent Morningstar (138), Cian Rose (113) and Jaxon Whitworth (132).
Canal Winchester begins OCC-Capital competition Jan. 11 at home against Groveport. The Indians went 1-4 in the league last season to finish fourth behind the champion Cruisers (5-0).
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 2 -- Athens Invitational at Ohio University
Dec. 5 -- Grove City and Wellington at Grove City YMCA
Dec. 8 -- Gahanna at Gahanna YMCA
Dec. 16 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 22 -- Watterson at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 5 -- Central Crossing and Westerville Central at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 13 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium and Teays Valley Invitational at Pickaway County Family YMCA
Jan. 15 -- Dresden Tri-Valley and two teams TBD at Muskingum Recreation Center
Jan. 19 -- Westerville South at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 20 -- Reynoldsburg at St. Charles
Jan. 27 -- OCC-Capital at New Albany
Dec. 7 -- at Bexley with Mount Gilead
Dec. 9 -- Jimmy Mac Duals at Bellefontaine
Dec. 15-16 -- Liberty Classic at Olentangy Liberty
Dec. 20 -- at Hamilton Township
Jan. 6 -- Kevin Cleveland Invitational at Dublin Scioto
*Jan. 11 -- vs. Groveport
Jan. 12-13 -- Marion County Invitational at Marion Harding
*Jan. 18 -- at Big Walnut
Jan. 20 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North
*Jan. 25 -- vs. New Albany
Feb. 3 -- Canal Winchester Invitational at home
*Feb. 8 -- at Newark
Feb. 10 -- Dick Hoover Duals at Holland Springfield
*Feb. 15 -- vs. Franklin Heights
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester boys basketball and girls basketball teams:
*Dec. 15 -- At Groveport
Dec. 16 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township
Dec. 19 -- Home vs. Central Crossing
*Dec. 15 -- Home vs. Groveport
Dec. 19 -- At Central Crossing