Building depth to go along with one of the area's better sprinters has been the biggest focus for the Reynoldsburg girls swimming and diving team this winter.
Junior Kasey Lichtner, who was a Division I district qualifier last season in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke, is leading a young corps of improving competitors.
One of those is freshman Sarah LeMay, who turned in a fifth-place finish in the 300 free (3 minutes, 45.94 seconds) in the Worthington Sprints Invitational on Jan. 8 at Thomas Worthington. The meet featured six schools and was scored in a dual-meet format, with the Raiders going 1-4.
"The girls are showing up, and we've got a lot of fast girls," coach Josh Dorsett said. "Our junior class is ginormous."
Lichtner was 23rd in the 50 free and 24th in the 100 breast at last year's district meet, and she's expecting to be one of the area's better competitors in the 50 free during the coming postseason.
Her second individual event, though, will be the 100 butterfly.
In the Worthington meet, she was fourth in the 100 free (57.75), fourth in the 50 breast (33.87), joined Lemay and sophomores Anna Haines and Olivia Dulay on the ninth-place 200 medley relay (2:18.11) and swam on the eighth-place 200 free relay (2:00.25) with LeMay, Dulay and freshman Madeline Daugherty.
Also, Lemay was 10th in the 50 free (29.31) and sophomore Brynn Dwenger was 13th in the 50 breast (51.65).
The Raiders have three additional meets before the OCC-Ohio Division championships are held Jan. 26 at Kenyon College.
Lichtner competed in both the 50 free and 100 fly on Jan. 10 and 11 in the Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton, which is the site of the state meet.
"Last year I did the 100 breast, but I'm starting to do the 100 fly more and I think it's working out OK," Lichtner said. "I'm a little bit more comfortable with (the 100 fly compared to the 100 breast). I'm starting to train for butterfly more and hoping to do it at districts.
"(The team has) been doing really well. ... We're getting a lot better and seeing a lot of improvement."
Boys swimmers tuning up for biggest meets
The boys swimming team went 2-3 in the Worthington Sprints Invitational.
Junior Nate Gaver won the 100 individual medley (57.36) and 50 breast (27.56) and swam on the fifth-place 200 medley relay (1:53.93) and fourth-place 200 free relay (1:39.3).
Gaver did not swim in early December for the Raiders because he was participating in a national competition.
"It was a pretty good first experience (competing at nationals)," he said. "I've dropped a little bit more time from two weeks ago. I'll probably do the 100 breaststroke a couple times (in the remaining meets of the regular season)."
In the Northeast Classic, Gaver competed in the 50 free and 100 free, sophomore Max Hutson-Comeaux competed in the 200 free and 500 free and the Raiders also sent their 200 free relay and 200 medley relay.
"It's been going great," Dorsett said. "We're really working on (figuring out our 400 free relay)."
The others who competed on both the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay in the Worthington meet were Hutson-Comeaux and juniors Dhishan Kashyap and Malachi Nichols.
Hutson-Comeaux added a sixth-place finish in the 50 fly (26.59) and a runner-up finish in the 300 free (2:58.16), and Kashyap was 10th in the 50 breast (34.17).
"Things are going great," Gaver said. "Probably the biggest thing for us is just plain old relay starts. Other than that, our turns are looking good and our sprints are looking great. I'm excited."
Schedule heats up for bowling teams
The boys and girls bowling teams both will face one of their toughest tests when they take on Gahanna on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at HP Lanes.
Before they faced Hilliard Davidson on Jan. 14, the Gahanna boys and girls both were 7-0 overall and 6-0 in the COHSBC-B.
The Reynoldsburg boys were 8-1 overall and 7-1 in the COHSBC-B before facing Hilliard Bradley on Jan. 13 and Whitehall on Jan. 15.
The Raiders bounced back from their first loss, a 2,377-2,212 setback to Pickerington North on Jan. 7, by beating Worthington Kilbourne 2,392-1,928 on Jan. 8.
Logan Gapen was leading the boys in average through eight matches at 205.9, followed by Owen Chisley (198.6), Logan Jeffers (197.6), Cris Weatherly (192.5) and Cameron Brosious (181.3). Tyler Robinson also has been a key contributor.
Another highlight for the boys team came Jan. 4 when it beat Heath for the title in the Muskingum Invitational at Park Lanes in Heath.
"(The loss to North was) only one match and we've got plenty of other matches left," coach Jamie Gapen said. "They kind of got ahead of themselves in that match. Gahanna is really good. With Pickerington North, it happens. That's the way this sport goes. We can bowl pretty well."
The girls team was 4-5 overall and 3-5 in the COHSBC-B before facing Bradley and Whitehall.
The Raiders have been led by Kay Hetterscheidt, who was averaging 141.9 in the league through eight matches, followed by Kimmee Shook (139.7).
Katie Morgan, Elizabeth Folk and Jenan Alkhatib also have been key contributors. Junior Dipisha Kekhatri was a late addition to the team.
"I'm great (with our improvement)," coach Jeff Morgan said. "Kimmee is a senior and has been stepping up this season. Kay had an injury at the beginning of the season and has had some issues with her knee."
Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 17 -- Home vs. Gahanna. The Raiders lost to the Lions 67-43 on Dec. 6.
Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
Jan. 21 -- At Westerville South
*Jan. 16 -- At Gahanna. The Raiders lost to the Lions 74-62 on Dec. 6.
Jan. 20 -- New Philadelphia in Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland
Jan. 21 -- At Westerville South
*Jan. 22 -- Gahanna at HP Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 18 -- Westerville South at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 19 -- Canal Winchester at St. Charles
Jan. 20 -- Big Dawg Invitational at Muskingum Recreation Center
*Jan. 16 -- At Pickerington North