Members of the Delaware Hayes boys and girls swimming and diving teams will compete in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Sunday, Jan. 26, at Kenyon College before turning their attention to the postseason.
Coach Jordan Nicol said his swimmers have begun to taper and reduce their workload during practice in preparation for the Division I sectional Feb. 8 at Thomas Worthington. That means fewer laps in the pool and less weightlifting so that the swimmers have adequate rest and are fresh for the sectional.
Divers don't begin their postseason until the district meet Feb. 12 and 13 at Ohio State.
"We have quite a few kids who will taper for sectionals this year, so they'll start (getting) a little bit more rest at practice, a little bit less yardage," Nicol said. "We'll start to back off lifting, a lot of stuff like that. We'll start to get a bit more specific of the things they're working on. And as we get closer to the date, all of that stuff gets more and more intense. More rest, less working out kind of thing."
Nicol said most of his swimmers will compete at sectional.
"We've got a handful of kids out because of injury," he said. "But there's definitely some relays we're looking forward to hopefully getting through (to district), and some individual swims on the girls side we hope to see some good swims out of."
On the girls side, Nicol said freshman Mackenzie Carter has had a great season and he expects her to compete well at sectionals. Carter competes in the 50-yard freestyle, 100 free and on relays.
Carter has a season-best 24.14 seconds in the 50 free and a season-best 53.48 in the 100 free.
"It's been fun working with her," Nicol said. "She's excited to come to the high school program and she works hard at practice. It's kind of nice to see somebody that's an underclassman to kind of push those upperclassmen."
Nicol said sophomore Kailyn Smith has stepped up in her second year. Competing in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke, Smith has a season-best 59.22 in the 100 fly and a season-best 1:12.16 in the 100 breast.
"I think she'll have a great taper and some strong performances," Nicol said. "She's working hard, she's had a good second year with the team. I think it's nice to have some underclassmen on those relays so they can get (postseason) experience."
Nicol said the girls 200 free relay has the most potential to advance in the postseason. The relay, which consists of Carter, Smith, senior Elizabeth Abahazi and junior Rena Ouyang, has a season-best 1:40.27.
Last year, the 200 free relay of Abahazi, Ouyang, Smith and 2019 graduate Valerie Keller finished 23rd (1:39.38) at state.
"I think they have the best shot of going the furthest," Nicol said of this year's 200 free relay.
Abahazi said she's satisfied with the state of the team as a whole heading into the postseason.
"I think, overall, our team is doing really well, and I'm excited to see what else we can do as the postseason comes along," she said.
On the boys side, Nicol said senior Caleb Bucher and freshman Kaden Gannon are among the swimmers he expects to perform well at sectional.
Bucher has a season-best 50.97 in the 100 free and a season-best 1:56.52 in the 200 free, while Gannon has a season-best 24.23 in the 50 free and a season-best 54.41 in the 100 free.
Both also compete on the 200 and 400 free relays. The 400 free relay, which also includes senior Aidan Stojkov and freshman Charles Abahazi, finished first at the Delaware Invitational on Jan. 10 in a season-best 3:32.19.
"I am extremely proud of how well we've been performing. I'm extremely proud of our guys," Bucher said. "They've really stepped up this year and put everything they had into swimming, even though we're not really the strongest team at the moment, but I'm really proud and happy with what we've accomplished."
Bucher said he expects the Pacers to perform well at sectional and hopes to see several of his teammates make it to district.
"I do expect us to compete very well with our relays and our individual events. I do expect great things from that meet from everyone," Bucher said.
"Personally, I want to get to districts, and then I would love to get a few of our guys to districts. That would be amazing. We have a lot of first-year swimmers, so I would like to see them go as far as they can and honestly, I just want them to drop time, because I'm sure that means a lot to them."
Boys team continues second-half surge
The boys basketball team continues to surge since losing its first five games to open the season.
The Pacers had won nine of 11 games and were 9-7 overall and 4-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Scioto on Jan. 24.
Delaware defeated Thomas Worthington 43-41 on Jan. 21 after having lost to the Cardinals 56-43 on Dec. 13 in the first round of league play.
In the rematch with Thomas, senior guard Nate Griggs hit a running shot with 2.6 seconds remaining to lift the Pacers to victory. Griggs finished with 17 points and senior forward Paul Burris added 15 points.
"A lot of (the turnaround) is us being healthy and finding our true identity," coach Adam Vincenzo said. "Our execution has been much better on both ends of the floor and we have finished games much better."
Delaware had won three consecutive games entering play Jan. 24, including a 51-50 win over Hilliard Darby on Jan. 17 and a 72-59 victory over Hudson Western Reserve Academy on Jan. 18.
Griggs had 18 points and Burris scored 16 against Darby.
Girls basketball team posts winning streak
The girls basketball team had won five games in a row before facing Scioto on Jan. 24.
The Pacers had beaten Thomas Worthington (61-36 on Jan. 21), DeSales (51-46 on Jan. 18), Darby (67-39 on Jan. 17), Caledonia River Valley (47-34 on Jan. 13) and Olentangy Berlin (61-44 on Jan. 10) during the winning streak.
Delaware was 11-6 overall and 5-5 in the OCC-Cardinal before Jan. 24.
Against Thomas, junior forward Alyssa Griner had 22 points and junior guard Alexis Amabile scored 18. Sophomore guard Chloe Jeffers had a team-high 12 points against DeSales and Amabile scored 15 against Darby.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 31 -- At Hilliard Bradley. The Pacers lost to the Jaguars 57-47 on Jan. 3
Jan. 28 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
*Jan. 31 -- Home vs. Bradley. The Pacers lost to the Jaguars 43-33 on Jan. 3.
Jan. 28 -- Groveport at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 29 -- Thomas Worthington at Colony Lanes
*Jan. 30 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Capri Lanes
Jan. 31 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 1 -- Marysville at Ohio Wesleyan
*Jan. 30 -- Home vs. Bradley
Feb. 1 -- Rieman Invitational at home