Christy Harper is close to making a breakthrough, so she is concentrating on the little things.
The junior for the Westerville North High School girls swimming and diving team is paying attention to the minute details of her performance in the 100-yard backstroke in an effort to drop her time under 1 minute.
"At this point I think it's mostly mental, trying not only to go fast out but also coming back in to the walls and all the little details," she said. "I need to get out fast for the first 50 because I'm slower than most everyone else. My starts are not always the best so I work on starts a lot. Tempo is also something I need to work on, like getting my arms moving faster."
Harper's best time in the 100 back is 1:00.5, which is quite a drop from the start of her freshman season. She began at 1:15 and dropped to 1:05.3 by the end of that year. Last season, she started at 1:05.1 and dropped to 1:01.3.
"Christy keeps getting stronger and now she's swimming club," coach Rich Morris said. "She already has been 1:00.5 unshaved this year. Her potential is unlimited and if she does what she is supposed to do, she has a chance to make state.
"(To qualify for state), she is going to have to hit everything perfect. The first hurdle is she needs to get under a minute and I think she will do that. ... She is getting stronger, getting better and getting more technically sound. She has a will to succeed. She hates to lose, and she is a fierce competitor. She wants to get better."
In the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Jan. 25 and 26 at Thomas Worthington, Harper finished third in 1:02.79. She also was on the second-place 200 medley relay (1:54.38) with Alaina Bernsdorf, Janessa Mathews and Allie Thompson as the Warriors finished second (259.5 points) behind Olentangy (276).
Mathews won the 100 breaststroke (1:05.88) and 200 freestyle (1:56.7) and was a member of the third-place 400 free relay (3:52.54) with Thompson, Gwyneth Payton and Emma Bolen.
Emma Weisgerber was third in diving (328.3).
Harper is coming off an injury-plagued offseason. In April, she had surgery for a foot injury and that limited her workout capabilities.
"I have worked a lot on my starts and turns and my overall technique since my freshman year," she said. "Mentally, I'm a lot tougher because recently I had surgery on my right foot for a condition called osteochondritis dissecans, which is a joint condition where the bone is dead under the cartilage due to a lack of blood flow. It's pretty rare.
"They had to go in and drill holes and place an external fixator (stabilizing frame) on it to pull the bone apart so there was less pressure on it. So we had to wait for that to heal and I missed about three months in the water. I did a lot of core work because I wasn't really able to do much from the waist down. I was able to swim with it a little bit. I wasn't able to pull, but I was able to do a little bit."
Up next for Harper -- and the Warriors -- is a trip to a Division I sectional Feb. 9 at Kenyon College. The aim is to get below 1:00 in the 100 back and plunge even further.
"The goal is to try to go unsuited under a minute," Morris said. "Christy may get it and she might not, but she's working on the little things and that's what counts in a sprint. In distance events you can get away with things but in sprints everything has to be perfect, whether it's starts, underwater, breakout, the turns. We are working on the little things.
"Last year, 58.2 or 58.3 made it to state. When she rests completely and suits up, she can do that."
Boys swimming team takes second in league
Andrew Bernsdorf won a pair of events to lead the boys swimming team to a runner-up finish in the OCC-Buckeye meet.
After being fourth last season, the Warriors scored 180 points to finish behind Olentangy Liberty (506.5).
Bernsdorf placed first in the 200 free (1:43.43) and 500 free (4:43.82) and was a member of a pair of second-place relays. He was on the 200 medley relay (1:45.63) with Hayden Yeager, Chris Lake and Paul Buckley, and the same four comprised the 400 free relay (3:24.75).
Yeager also was second in the 200 individual medley (2:05.48).
Keene, Alston leading boys basketball team
Jeremiah Keene and Philip Alston are the top scorers for the boys basketball team.
Keene averages 19.6 points and Alston averages 12.5 for the Warriors, who have won six of seven games and are 10-7 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Buckeye. Charles Perkins (9.7) and Chace Perkins (7.1) are other top scorers.
Keene scored 23 points with four 3-pointers in a 62-59 win over Hartley in the Play by Play Classic on Jan. 26 at Pickerington Central. Chace Perkins had 14 points and Alston and Charles Perkins both scored 11.
Girls team beats Olentangy, Central
The girls basketball team was 8-9 overall before playing Mount Vernon on Jan. 29.
The Warriors improved to 4-4 in the OCC-Buckeye by defeating Olentangy 36-19 on Jan. 25. Nia Hassey led a balanced attack with 10 points and Imari Martin and Charia Smith had nine apiece.
North also defeated Westerville Central 41-37 on Jan. 18 in league play.
Below are the coming schedules for the North boys basketball, girls basketball and bowling teams:
*Feb. 1 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty. The Warriors lost to the Patriots 71-63 on Dec. 21.
Feb. 5 -- At Dublin Coffman
*Feb. 1 -- At Liberty. The Warriors lost to the Patriots 58-22 on Dec. 21.
Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin
Feb. 5 -- Home vs. Coffman
*Jan. 31 -- Berlin at Delaware Lanes