Emma Thompson enjoys taking her time when she is in the pool -- 500 yards at a time.

The senior for the Central Crossing girls swimming and diving team holds the program record of 5 minutes, 50.73 seconds in the 500 freestyle, an event many swimmers avoid because of the long distance.

Thompson, however, said the forgiving nature of the event is why she finds it appealing.

"It's my favorite event, and I always look forward to it," she said. "In the 500 free, if you mess up the start, you have a whole 20 laps to work on it. The small mistakes aren't a detriment to your race, and they don't have an effect on your performance as much."

Coach Robert Boggs said Thompson has the work ethic necessary to qualify for the Division I district meet in the event for the first time. The Comets compete in a sectional Feb. 8 at Upper Arlington, with the winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advancing to district Feb. 13 at Ohio State.

The Comets compete in the OCC-Central Division meet Saturday, Jan. 25, at Kenyon College.

"Emma has been doing really well in the 500 free," Boggs said. "She wants to make the district cut in that this year. That's her goal and she's really close to it.

"She will have to build a little more endurance in the 500. Her technique is really good, but she needs the endurance and the pacing to get to the 5:45 mark. That's what we're shooting for."

Thompson has been swimming competitively for 12 years, although she did not join the Comets until her sophomore season. Before that, she swam for the Ohio State Swim Club.

"The atmosphere is a lot different in high school than in club and you actually get to enjoy the sport," she said. "In high school you have this wide variety of swimmers from people who have just gotten in the pool to people who have been doing it for 12 years. Everyone has a lot of experience in club."

Thompson also holds program records in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.65) and 200 individual medley (2:29.36), and she joined senior Madison Studt, junior Haley Kumfer and sophomore Haylee Howard to set program records in all three relays last winter at district. The marks are 2:07.82 in the 200 medley relay, 1:52.53 in the 200 free relay and 4:10.47 in the 400 free relay.

"I really enjoy my relays," Thompson said. "It's really a lot of fun when you get to be with the other girls on the team."

Thompson will attend Wilmington and plans to compete for the swimming program. She has a 3.9 GPA and has aspirations of becoming a physical therapist.

"I was injured a lot when I was young," she said. "When I was 12, I started having a lot of leg injuries. First, I broke my leg. Later I got shin splints from doing the breaststroke of all things, and that took about a year. Then I had a pile of other things, so physical therapy has very much been a part of my athletic career. I want to be able to help out people that way."

Cox continues hunt for scoring record

Haley Cox continues to add to her career scoring lead for the girls basketball team, which was 4-12 overall before playing Grove City on Jan. 21.

The senior guard had 1,113 points entering the game against the Greyhounds. She trails only 2009 graduate Bryce Barnes (1,188) for first among boys and girls players at the school.

Cox scored 29 points with three 3-pointers in a 69-41 win over Briggs on Jan. 15. Georgia Lakso had nine points and Araceli Rosado added eight as 11 players scored.

The Comets dropped to 2-5 in the OCC-Central by losing to Upper Arlington 49-29 on Jan. 17. Lakso led with seven points as Cox was limited to four.

Green, VanHouten pace wrestling team

Seniors Omari Green and Nate VanHouten won championships for the wrestling team Jan. 17 and 18 in the Licking Heights Invitational.

Green captured the heavyweight title and VanHouten was the winner at 170 pounds as the Comets finished third (130 points) of 20 teams behind Westerville North (198.5) and London (180).

Abel Garantche (220), Jamie Ramirez (126) and Max Webb (195) placed third and Jayden Vazquez (138) was fifth.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 24 -- Home vs. Marysville. The Comets lost to the Monarchs 66-45 on Dec. 13.

Jan. 28 -- At Teays Valley

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Jan. 24 -- At Marysville. The Comets lost to the Monarchs 66-37 on Dec. 13.

Jan. 28 -- Home vs. Westerville Central

GYMNASTICS

Jan. 28 -- At *Dublin Coffman with Franklin Heights, Grove City and *Westland

SWIMMING & DIVING

Jan. 25 -- OCC-Central meet at Kenyon

WRESTLING

*Jan. 23 -- At Hilliard Davidson

*League contest