Grace Riddle began her Canal Winchester High School swimming career by making the Division I state meet as a freshman in the 100-yard breaststroke and placing ninth.
The next two years did not go quite as Riddle hoped. She fell short of returning to state as a sophomore and, last year as a junior, advanced with the 200 freestyle relay that placed ninth but did not compete as an individual.
Now a senior and an Ohio University recruit, Riddle has reason to think she could close her prep career in style as she recently swam 58 seconds in the 100 breast during a club meet at Miami University as a member of the Greater Columbus Swim Team of Ohio.
"That's what I went in the preseason the year that I went (to state), so I feel like I'm getting back on track," said Riddle, who swam 56.77 as a freshman to win the district championship. "I'm really hoping to hit that time again. Hopefully, I will go 56 in February."
Riddle and classmate Leah Bates return from the 200 free relay that finished 17th at state last year, the fourth time in five seasons that relay had qualified.
Bates missed the beginning of the season with an injury but hoped to return for the Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational that concluded Dec. 8 at Ohio State.
Their experience leads a roster of 24 girls swimmers, 11 of whom are freshmen or sophomores, under first-year coach Shawn Elizondo.
"I try to recruit the best I can and let everybody know we're here," Elizondo said. "The high school has worked with us really well helping us get the word out. It's exciting."
Canal Winchester opened Nov. 27 by splitting a tri-meet at New Albany, losing to the host Eagles 115-48 and defeating Lancaster 100-36.
Elizondo succeeds Julie Pastor, who coached the team for seven seasons but resigned after last year to coincide with the graduation of her youngest daughter, former Indians swimmer Kassidy Pastor. Julie Pastor, whom Elizondo assisted the past two seasons, remains on staff as an assistant coach.
"This was kind of our plan once Kassidy graduated for me to take over," said Elizondo, who also has served as commissioner of the Canal Winchester Joint Recreation District swim program for the last five years. "We're going to keep getting bigger, I think. It's a great sport."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Emma Preston, Lauren Preston, Morgan Reeb, Riley Smoot and Corinne Somers, juniors Delali Amoah, Cassie Kolonchuk, Alana Mounts, Mikaela Vojacek and Lauren Young, sophomores Isabella Byrd, Allena Klamorick, Kierra Martin and Merideth McFarland and freshmen Madison Burris, Jillian King, Sydney Somers, Lauren Stone, Grace Terflinger, Kennedy Trace and Baylee Tyler.
McFarland was part of a district-qualifying 200 medley relay as a freshman.
Reeb has signed to play soccer at Ohio Dominican.
"There are a lot of new swimmers this year. It's good to see everyone improving and doing some new things," Riddle said. "Coach Shawn has stepped in and is putting a big emphasis on the captains and being more of a team this year. He wants us to do more team activities and do things more efficiently. We have seen a lot of improvement already just within (the) first few weeks."
Fry, Martino to lead boys swimming team
Blake Fry of the boys swimming and diving team has a plan for making his third consecutive Division I state meet, one he hopes ultimately involves less stress than in years past.
"I snuck in (to state) the past couple years, so I am hoping to cut off a little bit more time in the 100 breast and 500 (free) so I'm not sitting up late looking at other times and stressing about if any times in the state have been faster than (mine)," said Fry, a junior. "I'd like to get my 100 breaststroke time down around 56 seconds and swim about 4:35 in the 500 (free). I'd like to get to the (championship) final, but I have to get to state first."
Fry finished 15th in the 500 free and 19th in the 100 breast last season at state after placing 22nd in the 100 breast and 23rd in the 500 free as a freshman. He earned at-large state berths both years as the top two finishers at district in each event automatically qualify.
Two other district qualifiers also return in sophomores Lucas Elizondo, the coach's son, and Korbin Martino. Elizondo was on the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay and Martino was on those relays in addition to qualifying in the 50 free and 100 backstroke.
Canal Winchester opened Nov. 27 with a tri-meet, losing to Lancaster 77-75 and New Albany 113-48.
"I hope we can get the boys (200) medley (relay) and 200 free relays to the state meet. That's a big goal other than the girls getting to state again," Elizondo said. "Grace should go and Blake should go and hopefully we can get at least a few more kids up there. I have a really good sophomore class this year along with Blake being a junior. It's going to be good."
The rest of the roster consists of seniors Corey Berner, Will Butler, Noah Pence and Kobe Stone, junior Jake Reher, sophomores Kaylor Byrd, Noah Carter, Ian Lewis and Brett Smithers and freshmen Carson Reeb and Tyler Terflinger.
The total of 38 athletes in the program is four more than last season.
"A lot of people who have done swimming have told people it's a fun sport, a good atmosphere," Fry said. "It's just enjoyable, something fun to do."
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 27 -- at New Albany with Lancaster
Dec. 1 -- Athens Invitational at Ohio University
Dec. 4 -- Grove City and Lancaster at Grove City YMCA
Dec. 7-8 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 17 -- Centennial at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 21 -- Gahanna at Gahanna YMCA
Dec. 28 -- Dresden Tri-Valley, Granville and Warsaw River View at Muskingum Recreation Center
Jan. 5 -- Groveport at Groveport Recreation Center
Jan. 12 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton and Teays Valley Invitational at Pickaway County Family YMCA
Jan. 18 -- Westerville North at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 19 -- Reynoldsburg at St. Charles
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Capital meet at New Albany
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Groveport
Dec. 15 -- At Briggs
Dec. 18 -- At Central Crossing
*Dec. 14 -- At Groveport
Dec. 15 -- At Hartley
Dec. 18 -- Home vs. Central Crossing
Dec. 14-15 -- Liberty Classic at Olentangy Liberty