Recruiting in the hallways of Bexley High School was an important part of building the swimming and diving program.
The girls have 38 participants and the boys have 22 competitors thanks to some effective sales pitches.
“We had a lot of recruiting,” said senior David Tugend, a four-year member of the boys team. “We went to our friends and said, ‘I’m doing swim team. I love it and I can guarantee you’ll love it, too.’
“I was there (as a beginner) once, so I know what they are going through. It can be a little awkward, so you need to be their friend and show them that it’s going to be all right. You get in the water and do the workouts with them.”
Ailbhe McCann, a four-year swimmer with the girls team, is excited about her senior season despite getting a late start.
“I finished field hockey two days before our first practice, so the preseason wasn’t that long for me,” she said. “We practice six days a week and have had pretty much perfect attendance. Everyone wants to improve.”
Fifth-year coach Sandy Sliwowski is excited about the prospects for the boys team. Leading the way are Tugend, seniors John Niermeyer and Jack Zwick and junior Danner Rogers. Freshmen Eli Dresbach and Quinn Hall also could make an impact.
“The boys have a lot of potential, and they have been working hard to get better,” Sliwowski said. “We have a couple of freshmen – Quinn Hall and Eli Dresbach – who will help us out some. We’ll see what they can do this year.”
Leah Stamm returns to lead the girls team. The junior was the lone Division II state qualifier for the Lions a year ago, finishing 19th in the 100-yard backstroke in 59.69 seconds.
Senior Olivia Mitchell and sophomore Ally Grieshop also are returnees.
McCann is embracing her role as a leader.
“I think as a senior it’s my responsibility to set a good example, especially for the freshmen,” she said. “We have a lot of new swimmers, so it’s good to show them how to uphold standards and show them what to do.”
The Lions opened Dec. 1 by sending athletes to the Columbus Academy Relays and the St. Charles-Columbus School for Girls Sprint Showdown.
In the six-team Academy Relays, the boys finished fifth (50 points) behind champion Gahanna (98) and the girls were fifth (56) behind co-champions Academy and Gahanna (both 84).
The boys were 11th (5) of 12 teams in the Sprint Showdown behind champion St. Charles (615.5), and the girls were 10th (16) behind champion Toledo St. Ursula (556).
“We wanted to give the younger swimmers an idea of what a (preliminaries and) finals meet was like, so we sent them to St. Charles-CSG,” Sliwowski said.
“That way they could see what to expect at a meet such as that.”
Boys basketball team loses league opener
The boys basketball team was 2-2 overall before playing Circleville New Hope Christian on Dec. 11.
The Lions lost at Whitehall 38-21 on Dec. 8 in their MSL-Ohio opener.
Ryan Callahan led with 14 points.
Through four games, Callahan was averaging a team-best 12.3 points, followed by Damian Davis (11.0) and Nasir Tucker (8.5).
Girls basketball team splits first four games
The girls basketball team was 2-2 overall before playing Ready on Dec. 12.
The Lions improved to 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division by defeating Grandview 39-21 on Dec. 7. Aly Cox led with 10 points and Maddy Vincent and Maddy Young both scored nine.
“We’re definitely a work in progress,” said coach Joshua Price, whose team lost to Whitehall 42-37 on Dec. 1 in league play.
“Ideally, we want to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season. We’re growing each day and the girls are coming along. We have to get better in practices and then we’ll get better in games.”
SWIMMING AND DIVING
Dec. 1 – Columbus Academy Relays and St. Charles-Columbus School for Girls Sprint Showdown
Dec. 7-8 – Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 14 – at Columbus Academy
Dec. 15 – Marion Pleasant at Marion YMCA
Dec. 22 – Wellington Jaguar Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 5 – Southeast Invitational at Ohio University
Jan. 11 – Bloom-Carroll, Centennial, Hamilton Township, Johnstown and Teays Valley at Columbus School for Girls
Jan. 12 – Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton and Teays Valley Invitational at Pickaway County YMCA
Jan. 18 – Columbus Academy Invitational
Jan. 19 – Wellington at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 26 – MSL meet at Columbus Academy
Feb. 1 – at St. Charles with Columbus School for Girls and Village Academy
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys basketball, girls basketball, boys bowling and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 14 – At Grandview
Dec. 15 – At Logan Elm
*Dec. 15 – At Columbus Academy
*Dec. 14 – Teays Valley at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl
*Dec. 17 – Columbus West at Holiday Lanes
*Dec. 19 – Columbus International at Holiday Lanes
Dec. 15 – Bexley Duals