Kaitlyn Sims makes things look easy in the pool.
What can be difficult for others seems effortless for the junior on the Hilliard Bradley girls swimming and diving team. That being said, she also finds the most basic stroke -- the freestyle -- to be her most challenging.
Sims is coming off winning her second OCC-Cardinal Division championship in the 200-yard individual medley in the league meet Jan. 26 at Kenyon College. Her finish of 2 minutes, 13.44 seconds is nearly two seconds faster than last season's winning performance of 2:15.35.
"The 200 IM is my favorite event," Sims said. "You just have to keep your time steady in each of the 50s.
"I have the most trouble with my freestyle. I'm not sure why, because usually everyone finds it the easiest. It just hasn't been my best stroke."
Sims holds program records in the 200 IM (2:08.98) and the 100 backstroke (59.14). She set her best time in the 100 butterfly (59.14) in club competition, while her top in the event for the Jaguars is 1:01.
"Kaitlyn works really hard and isn't afraid to go the extra mile to put in the work," coach Jacob Shiplet said. "She has changed up her workouts a bit and I think she will finish up faster than she did last season."
Sims finished 23rd in the 200 IM (2:12.82) in the Division I state meet a year ago in her first season with the Jaguars.
"I have been swimming competitively since I was 7 (years old)," said Sims, who competes with the Ohio State Swim Club. "I always wanted to swim in high school, but I didn't as a freshman. I was still 14 and going to Junior Olympics. All of my club friends said (competing with a high school program) was a lot of fun, so I decided to do it after freshman year."
Sims started swimming at a young age and quickly fell in love with the sport. Her mother, Gwen, played collegiate softball at Robert Morris in Pittsburgh, but Sims didn't follow her mother's path to the diamond.
"I always just loved being in the water from the time I was really young," Sims said. "A year or two after I started swimming, I started working on the other strokes. My favorite stroke is probably the fly. It's pretty challenging and has been a lot of fun."
Sims competes on the 200 medley relay with Isa Brooks, Cindy Yu and Madison Wester and on the 400 free relay with Wester, Paige Williams and Brooks.
"I like (the individual events and relays) about the same, but the relays are a lot of fun," Sims said. "In the individual events, I put more pressure on myself to do well. In the relays, you have more fun because you're there with your friends."
The postseason begins Saturday, Feb. 8, with a Division I sectional at Thomas Worthington, with Sims expected to compete in the 200 IM and 100 fly. The winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district Feb. 13 at Ohio State.
There is no diving at sectional.
"I'm swimming pretty well right now and I'm faster than where I was at this time last year," Sims said. "Last year was my first year of swimming high school. I wasn't sure if I would make it (to state), so just being there with fast people, it was a great energy. Now I know what it takes to get there."
Boys basketball team clinches league title
The boys basketball team was handed its second loss of the season a night after clinching its fourth consecutive OCC-Cardinal championship.
The Jaguars were 16-2 overall and 11-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Jerome on Feb. 4.
Keaton Norris had 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and A.J. Mirgon also scored 17 as Bradley defeated visiting Delaware 59-37 on Jan. 31 to secure at least a share of the league championship and earn its 54th consecutive league win. Second-place Thomas was 8-3 in the league before playing Dublin Scioto on Feb. 4.
Ranked third in the state in Division I last week, Bradley lost to Division II's fourth-ranked team, Trotwood-Madison, 79-72 on Feb. 1.
The Jaguars had allowed an average of 38.3 points entering the contest, but the up-tempo Rams led 29-14 after one quarter. Trotwood-Madison defeated Clayton Northmont 153-67 on Jan. 28, recording the fourth highest point total in OHSAA history and the most points scored by an Ohio team in 55 years.
"We have to learn from this," coach Brett Norris said of the loss to the Rams. "The pressure they put on you at both ends of the floor is unique, so there is a lot to learn, which is why we played them.
"We had been playing really well, but we came up short at the free-throw line, on wide open shots, and also defensively in the first quarter. That doesn't happen for us a lot."
Matt Allocco had a team-high 20 points against Trotwood-Madison. Mirgon added 14 points and Chris Mayfield, Tayshaun Mayfield and Peyton Murphy each scored 10.
Girls team wins first league title since 2017
The girls basketball team defeated Delaware 50-40 on Jan. 31 and Worthington Kilbourne lost to Scioto that same night, allowing Bradley to clinch at least a share of its first league title since winning three in a row from 2015-17.
The Jaguars were 16-4 overall and 11-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Jerome on Feb. 4, while second-place Kilbourne was 9-3 in the league before playing Delaware that same night.
Chloe Callahan paced Bradley against Delaware, scoring 21 of her 25 points in the second half and making all 10 of her free-throw attempts. Macy Chapman and Emily Marschhausen both added seven points.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 7 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto. The Jaguars defeated the Irish 48-27 on Jan. 7.
Feb. 8 -- At Davidson
*Feb. 7 -- At Scioto. The Jaguars defeated the Irish 48-39 on Jan. 7.
Feb. 21 -- Home vs. 19th-seeded Dublin Jerome or 35th-seeded Thomas Worthington in second round of Division I district tournament. The Jaguars are seeded 10th.
Feb. 6 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Worthington Kilbourne
Feb. 10 -- At Darby with Davidson and Washington Court House Miami Trace
Feb. 8 -- Fourth-seeded Pickerington North in Division I, Region 6 team dual tournament at Darby. Winner faces top-seeded Upper Arlington, eighth-seeded New Carlisle Tecumseh or ninth-seeded Grove City in semifinal. The final will be later that day. Regional champion advances to state Feb. 16 at Ohio State's St. John Arena. The Jaguars are seeded fifth.