Hilliard Davidson High School swimming and diving coach Lynn Bowers and her athletes are hoping a combination of experienced returnees, along with an influx of newcomers, will help the program's continued progress.
"We have a good returning senior class and a lot of new kids, a lot of kids who are going to have really good seasons," senior C.W. Hess said. "There's a lot of room for improvement after the first two meets. We have a few varsity kids returning and we have a lot of kids who could have a huge impact on our team. I'm really looking forward to see what we can do."
The Wildcats received an early season test when they competed in the Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational on Dec. 8 at Ohio State.
The boys team finished 14th (64 points) behind champion Hunting Valley University School (396.5) as 35 teams scored.
Senior Dalton Brown (sprint freestyle, backstroke) placed seventh in the 50-yard free (21.29 seconds) and the 400 free relay of Brown, Hess (sprint free) and sophomores Gregory McGuire (individual medley, free) and Sergio Suarez (butterfly, back, free) finished eighth (3:24.64).
Bowers, who is in her third season, expects strong seasons from McGuire and Suarez.
In addition to Brown, Hess and McGuire, other returnees are seniors Eric Oralov (distance free) and Phil Tate (free, fly), juniors Alexander Harman (free, fly) and Cameron Wiksell (free) and sophomores Michael Foster (distance free, back), Chase Freeman (IM, fly), Cy Hess (free, back), Jonathan Lynch (free), Alain Martin (back, free), Riley Palanca (free), Troy Tarlton (back, breaststroke) and A.J. Zody (sprint free).
Other swimmers are freshmen Ben Bartels (fly, IM), Joshua Chi (back, free), Mason Deerwester (breast, distance free), Alexander Oralov (free) and Griffin White (free, back).
"I have some freshmen that are new to the system and they're learning," Bowers said.
Last season in the Division I district meet, Brown, Hess and Tate were members of the 200 medley relay that finished eighth and Brown and Hess were on the 400 free relay that also placed eighth.
Tyler Endecott, a 2018 graduate, also was on both relays at district. He was the Wildcats' lone state qualifier a year ago, finishing 18th in the 200 IM.
Bowers is hoping the Wildcats will have a strong performance in the OCC-Central Division meet later this season after finishing third (223) behind Upper Arlington (391) and Dublin Coffman (345) last year.
"It's a great meet," Bowers said. "We're in (the same league) with Coffman and UA. I would love one day to be able to take (the title). It's going to be a tough road with Coffman and UA in (our league). UA is a machine, but we're going to be tough and we're going to swim well. All I ever ask of the kids is give me 100 percent of what you have that day."
The girls team finished 38th (2) in the Ned Reeb meet behind champion Upper Arlington (391.5) as 38 teams scored.
Key returnees include senior Alex Worthington (IM, back) and junior Paige Erdman (all strokes), who were members of the 400 free relay (3:48.83) that finished 15th at district last season.
Other returnees are sophomores Macyn Morelli (free), Vivian Smith (IM, free, breast), Ellie Warren (free, breast) and Katie Woollard (distance free, back).
Also on the team are sophomore Gwen Duncan (free) and freshman Logan Long (free, back).
"We have a real dynamic team. We all get along really well and we all have fun at practices," Worthington said. "I'm looking forward to see all the improvements that everybody has."
Boys basketball team drops league opener
The boys basketball team was 1-1 overall before playing Watterson on Dec. 11.
Davidson opened OCC-Central play Dec. 7 with a 73-57 loss at Coffman. Jacob Drees led the Wildcats with 15 points and Caleb Stimmel scored 13.
Girls basketball team off to good start
The girls basketball team was 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Coffman on Dec. 10.
Emily Simon had 13 points and Jadah Dixon scored 11 in a 43-30 win over visiting Marysville on Dec. 4.
"Four games in the first eight days of our season is tough," coach Joy Taylor said before her team played Coffman. "We are happy at this point, but we have a lot of room for improvement. We need to do a better job of playing consistently for four quarters. I'm always proud of the effort and team play that our players exhibit daily."
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 26 -- Whetstone at Columbus Aquatics Center
Nov. 30 -- Delaware at Ohio Wesleyan
Dec. 1 -- Bradley at Hilliard YMCA
Dec. 8 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 15 -- Dublin Coffman at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 5 -- Delaware Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan
Jan. 9 -- Worthington Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Jan. 11 -- at Upper Arlington
Jan. 17 -- at New Albany
Jan. 19 -- Bradley and Darby at Hilliard YMCA
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Central meet at Upper Arlington
Feb. 1 -- Lancaster at Lancaster YMCA
Feb. 2 -- Upper Arlington Invitational
Below are the coming schedules for the Davidson boys basketball, girls basketball and gymnastics teams:
*Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
Dec. 18 -- At Lancaster
*Dec. 14 -- At Upper Arlington
Dec. 15 -- At Bradley
Dec. 18 -- Home vs. Lancaster
Dec. 15 -- Hilliard Invitational at home
Dec. 19 -- At *Marysville with Bradley and Darby