Whetstone Roundup: Swim teams feature strong competitors

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Nick Timmons is among four sophomore boys swimmers whom Whetstone coach Diane Barnhart calls the "fab four." Barnhart believes the boys team can win the City League championship this season.

The Whetstone swimming and diving program won't have its longtime leader at the helm this season. 

John DeRing will not guide the Braves this winter for personal reasons. In his place, first-year coach Chris Cordi will lead the boys, while third-year coach Diane Barnhart will lead the girls. 

On the girls side, Barnhart said the Braves have an experienced squad. Senior Emma Schaefer projects to be one of the key leaders and contributors. 

“I look for her to do great things,” Barnhart said. “She’s a great distance swimmer, and she made great improvements last year.” 

Barnhart also said junior Nezzie O'Malley will be a key contributor, captaining the team alongside Schaefer. 

“She’s a great leader,” Barnhart said. “She does an excellent breaststroke.” 

Sophomore Cristin Flanagan is expected to swim a variety of events. 

“She can do anything,” Barnhart said. “Freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, you know it. She can do great, too.” 

Other expected key contributors include senior Lydia Schaefer and sophomore Ella Coombs. 

Rounding out the girls team are junior Becca Schaefer and sophomore Xiudan McCollum, who also will dive this season, and two newcomers in sophomore Grace Oswalt and freshman Quinn McGonigle. 

Barnhart said the boys team is a relatively young group, but one that carries high expectations heading into the season led by seniors Matthew Conroy and Javier Cruz-Ginez. 

“The boys, they’re going to have a rock-star season if we’re able to participate,” Barnhart said. ‘Those kids work and they work hard, and they’re self-driven, and they’re in the water and they’re pushing each other. They are good.” 

Behind the senior duo are four sophomores who Barnhart said have shined in practices thus far. They are Josh Richards-Jarvis, Aaron Schaefer, Isaac Schaefer and Nick Timmons. 

“I think of them as my 'fab four,' ” Barnhart said. “Those boys are going to kill it this year.” 

A City League title is not out of the question for the boys this season, Barnhart said. Last year, Whetstone finished second (102) in the league behind Centennial (115). 

“I look for them to win the City meet,” Barnhart said. “I really do.” 

Rounding out the boys team are junior Henry Wollerman, sophomore Duncan Fellrath and freshmen Josh Conroy and Max Johnson. Wollerman is a newcomer.

Individual events and relays for both teams haven’t been determined, Barnhart said. The Braves currently aren’t practicing after Columbus City Schools postponed athletics until at least Friday, Dec. 18, because of rising cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Braves are scheduled to open Jan. 4 against Portsmouth. 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve

SWIMMING & DIVING

•Coaches: Boys — Chris Cordi, first season; Girls — Diane Barnhart, third season

•Top athletes: Boys — Matthew Conroy, Javier Cruz-Ginez, Josh Richards-Jarvis, Aaron Schaefer, Isaac Schaefer and Nick Timmons; Girls — Ella Coombs, Cristin Flanagan, Nezzie O'Malley, Emma Schaefer and Lydia Schaefer 

•Key losses: Boys — Kai Hoenshell and Alex Marcum; Girls — Audrey Beers, Catherine Flanagan, Emilie Johnson, Catherine Leahy, Alyssa Proudfoot and Leah Schaefer 

•2020 City standings: Boys — Centennial (115), Whetstone (102), Beechcroft (34); Girls — Centennial (118), Whetstone (86), Beechcroft (34), Eastmoor Academy (10)

•2020 postseason: Boys — 11th at sectional, did not score at district; Girls — 15th at sectional