Extra pool time could help the Hilliard Bradley High School swimming and diving teams become more competitive at the district level.
The Jaguars used to practice just three times per week at the Hilliard YMCA, but they have picked up two afternoon sessions each week at the Hilltop YMCA. Fourth-year coach Jason Shiplet believes that will make a big difference in the performance of his swimmers.
"Our teams are looking good," Shiplet said "We're getting extra pool time at (the) Hilltop (YMCA), so we're in the pool five days a week instead of three. We're really hoping that this will pay off at the end of the year."
The girls team has 12 competitors this season, up from seven last winter. The boys team has 11, one more than last year.
"When you add an additional five (swimmers), you are able to fill out relays," Shiplet said. "It will be a lot different for us at the dual meet level. We have to develop some talent to be competitive at the district level instead of getting just one or two people there.
"That's something (assistant coach) Alex (Drake) and I are working on with the added pool time. We really think that can be beneficial to us."
Junior Kaitlyn Sims returns for the girls squad after competing in the Division I state meet last winter, finishing 23rd in the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes, 12.82 seconds.
"I want to make state again, that's a big goal," Sims said. "I want to keep getting better and keep dropping time. I need to work hard and push myself out of my comfort zone and keep working on my technique."
Isa Brooks is the team's lone senior. Other top returnees include juniors Maddie Taylor and Madison Wester and sophomore Paige Williams.
Junior Carson Cross is the top returnee for the boys team after placing 20th in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.53) and 30th in the 100 butterfly (59.3) at district a year ago. He also was on the 29th-place 400 freestyle relay (3:49.53) with senior Ben Wirantana, junior Jackson White and 2019 graduate Emery Alspaugh. Wirantana did not return to the program.
Sophomore Jason Keck also returns.
"Carson swims the 100 fly and 200 IM, which is really looking good to start the year," Shiplet said. "He's working on his weakest stroke -- the backstroke -- and if we get that straightened out, he could make some waves.
"Tyler Moore comes in as a freshman this year and can swim the 100 fly, 500 (free) and 200 free. He should be a district swimmer and I would assume we would see him at the state level. He needs to grow into his body and pack on some muscle. He's only 14 (years old) and will improve as he develops."
Wrestlers return experienced lineup
The wrestling team returns one state qualifier, three district qualifiers and nine starters from last season.
Junior Deacon Sawchuk (138 pounds) returns after making his second appearance in the Division I state tournament last season, when he went 0-2 at 126 to finish 33-12 overall.
Logan Germaine (160) was a district qualifier last winter along with sophomore Matthew Cooper (220), who competed at 195. Senior Kyle DeMoss (182) qualified for district at 195 as a sophomore.
"We're very deep, and our numbers are good," 11th-year coach John Riggs said. "Most of the weights are filled by returning starters. We like that experience, but we also have some young faces that will have to adjust quickly to the pace and speed of the varsity level."
Seniors Alex Schmidt (145), Wade Troutman (195) and Mason Wood (152) and sophomores Peyton Archer (132) and Julien Kleiv (106) all return. Freshmen Nathan Baird (126), Caden Ellison (120) and Robert Snyder (heavyweight) also should contribute.
"I feel we're very solid in the middle and upper weights," Riggs said. "We have good numbers and we like our kids and their work ethic and enthusiasm. We're excited to get started."
The Jaguars opened Dec. 7 by finishing second (174.5 points) in the nine-team Olentangy Invitational behind Centerville (279.5).
Sawchuk (138) won while Kleiv (106), DeMoss (182) and Schmidt (145) all placed second. Snyder (heavyweight) was third, and Cooper (220), Ellison (120), Troutman (195) and Wood (152) each placed fourth.
"I'm super excited for the team this year," DeMoss said. "We didn't do as well as we would have liked last year, but we have a lot of returning guys."
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 13 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Dec. 14 -- Pickerington North in Ohio Scholastic Play by Play Classic at Nationwide Arena
*Dec. 13 -- At Kilbourne
Dec. 17 -- At Davidson
*Dec. 12 -- Pickerington North at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Dec. 17 -- Newark at Park Lanes
*Dec. 18 -- Davidson at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 13-14 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State
*Dec. 12 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington