There might not be a better returning trio in high school girls swimming and diving from one Ohio program than what Dublin Coffman brings to the pool this winter.
The Shamrocks have just 11 swimmers and three divers, but juniors Hannah Bailey and Kristyn Sabol and sophomore Ellie Andrews are seasoned veterans at the Division I state level.
"We're a little small, but we're pretty good at the top end," 13th-year coach Steve VonSchriltz said. "We're not going to win a lot of dual meets, but once we get to state, I think we can be the top team in central Ohio again on the girls side. That's our goal so that will be a challenge, but we want to be in the top five in the state."
Last season, Andrews was state runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 1.09 seconds) and placed ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:03.46), She also swam on the 200 medley relay that placed fourth (1:43.59) and on the 200 freestyle relay that finished fourth (1:34.9).
Bailey, who was state champion in the 100 breast as a freshman, finished third in the 100 butterfly (55.2) and seventh in the 100 breast (1:03.76) and swam on both the 200 medley and 200 free relays last season.
Sabol finished third in the 200 free (1:49.72) and fourth in the 100 fly (55.29) and also was on the 200 free and 200 medley relays.
"Ellie and Hannah both had really good summers," VonSchriltz said. "They have Olympic trial cuts in the 100 breast and 200 breast. After this winter, we're going to start training for the Olympic trials."
Also returning after competing at state last season are sophomore Ava Warren, who swam on the 400 free relay that placed 23rd (3:42.93), and sophomore Cameron Das, who was on the 200 medley relay.
Senior Linda Lu was a district qualifier in the 200 IM and sophomore Ellie O'Banion was a district qualifier in the 200 free and 500 free.
Sophomore Ryoka Nishibori also is a key returnee.
Competing in diving are senior Trinity Williams, junior Sidney Boroff and freshmen Sarah Donnelly and Cici Jobe.
Boys swimming team also has high hopes
The boys swimming and diving team returns six athletes who competed at state last season.
Senior Zak Birnbrich competed on the fourth-place 200 medley relay (1:34.32) along with 2018 graduates Eddie Michael and Owen McQuaid and senior Ted Stevens and joined Michael, McQuaid and senior Andy Shepard on the ninth-place 400 free relay (3:09.83).
Stevens is not back with the team, but Birnbrich, Shepard, senior Cole Northup and juniors Brendan Oshida, Will Randall and Ethan Shaw figure to lead a program that has 11 swimmers and one diver.
"I have about six boys that are pretty equal and they're working hard to do even better than last year," VonSchriltz said.
Also at state last season, Birnbrich placed ninth in the 100 fly (50.64), Shaw finished 13th in the 500 free (4:41.83), Oshida placed 17th in the 500 free (4:43.32) and Birnbrich, McQuaid, Northup and Randall were on the 200 free relay that was disqualified from the consolation final.
VonSchriltz expects freshmen Joseph Nadur and Zach Stomp also to be key contributors.
Senior Trinity Williams returns in diving after placing 14th (298.25) at district last season.
Michael, who is competing for Arizona State, was a four-time state competitor who reached the podium eight times during his prep career. Last season, he was state runner-up in the 100 free (44.92), placed sixth in the 50 free (20.84) and swam on both the 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Penn off to hot start for boys team
During the boys basketball team's 84-44 victory over Mansfield Senior on Nov. 30, junior guard Dominiq Penn made four 3-pointers and totaled 36 points.
He hasn't slowed down much since then, scoring 28 points in a 78-50 victory over Dayton Thurgood Marshall on Dec. 1 and 21 in a 73-57 win over Hilliard Davidson on Dec. 7.
"He's off to a great start," coach Jamey Collins said. "He's shot the ball well and has just been playing well."
Coffman is 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Central Division as it prepares to continue league action Friday, Dec. 14, at Westland, which was 1-4 before playing Hamilton Township on Dec. 12.
The Shamrocks then play host to Marysville on Dec. 21 before closing the 2018 portion of their schedule by facing Liberty Township Lakota East on Dec. 28 and Proctorville Fairland on Dec. 29 in the Stephen Gussler Invitational at Thomas Worthington.
Figuring out how to mix what he believes will be a deep rotation has been among Collins' biggest dilemmas thus far.
Senior forward Patrick Preece, who has committed to Asbury, is a transfer from Davidson who Collins expects to be eligible for the entire season. He scored three points against Mansfield Senior.
Seniors Jack Greenwalt and Evan James, junior Keaton Turner, sophomores Nash Hostetler and Hammond Russell and freshman Ajay Sheldon are among those jockeying for playing time alongside Penn and four other regulars in seniors Luke Bartemes, Will Hunter, Derek Van Vlerah and Grant Yeater.
"(Preece) obviously has a lot of experience and he definitely has a very good understanding of the game of basketball," Collins said. "We're working in about nine to 10 guys, and he'll play a forward spot. He kind of does a little bit of everything, which fits a lot of our other guys.
"(Mansfield Senior and Thurgood Marshall) played really hard, so the (final score) may not indicate it, but both those games were competitive. That was a good way to start the season."
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 7-9 -- Makos Speedo Holiday Spirit Classic at Miami University
Dec. 15 -- Hilliard Davidson and Hilliard Bradley at Dublin Recreation Center
Dec. 28 -- Watterson at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 4 -- at Upper Arlington
Jan. 5 -- Gahanna at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 12 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
Jan. 18 -- Olentangy Liberty at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 19 -- Dublin Classic at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Central meet at UA
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, hockey and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 14 -- At Westland
*Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Westland
Dec. 15 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Dec. 15 -- Hilliard Invitational at Hilliard Davidson
*Dec. 14 -- Springboro at South Metro Ice
*Dec. 15 -- Olentangy Orange at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 16 -- Olentangy at Chiller North
*Dec. 17 -- Olentangy Liberty at Chiller Dublin
Dec. 14-15 -- North Canton Holiday Invitational at North Canton Hoover