Whetstone Roundup: Braves swimmers driven to make most of shortened season
The Whetstone boys and girls swimming and diving teams returned to practice in mid-January and competed in only two meets before the postseason.
Regardless of the late start and limited schedule, which were caused by Columbus City Schools’ decision to delay winter sports, coach Diane Barnhart said the Braves have made strides.
“They’re pretty dedicated,” Barnhart said. They’re coming to practice every day. They’re not complaining. I’m pretty impressed.
“It’s been a good season, even though it’s been short.”
The girls competed in a Division I sectional Feb. 12 at Upper Arlington, and the boys competed Feb. 13 at UA. There were no automatic berths to the district meet Feb. 21 at Bowling Green. The top 24 in individual events and the top 16 relays advanced based on sectional times.
The Braves opened Feb. 1 against Centennial and then faced Centennial and Beechcroft in the City League meet Feb. 6 at Columbus Aquatics Center. The boys placed first (120 points) ahead of Centennial (95) and Beechcroft (12), while the girls finished second (97) behind Centennial (101) and ahead of Beechcroft (30).
Both Aaron Schaefer and Isaac Schaefer have turned in impressive performances this season, Barnhart said.
Aaron Schaefer won the 200-yard freestyle (2 minutes, 3.55 seconds) and 500 free (6:45.53) in the City meet.
“He’s doing pretty well,” Barnhart said. “I look for him to do very well in the future. He’s a hard worker.”
Isaac Schaefer placed first in the 50 free in 26.66.
“He’s been doing really fantastic,” Barnhart said.
Barnhart said other boys who have impressed are Matt Conroy – who placed first as a member of the 400 free relay (4:11.63) with Joshua Conroy, Joshua Richards-Jarvis and Alex Proudfoot – and Nick Timmons, who won the 200 individual medley (1:51.17) and 100 butterfly (1:06.41).
“(Timmons is) really going above and beyond this season,” Barnhart said.
Quinn McGonigle and Cristin Flanagan have impressed on the girls side, Barnhart said.
McGonigle placed first in the 100 backstroke in 1:22.55.
“She’s been doing great,” Barnhart said. “She’s had some pretty good improvements in her (events).”
Flanagan won the 100 fly in 1:23.72.
“She has really stepped in and filled the spots that nobody wants to swim, and she’s been doing great,” Barnhart said.
Girls basketball team
The girls basketball team returned to competition with a 95-8 loss at Northland on Jan. 25 and was 1-7 entering a game at Centennial on Feb. 16.
The Braves defeated visiting East 24-23 on Jan. 27.
Coach Torrie Ruffin said the Braves, who don’t have a senior on the roster, have continued to grow despite starting late and are gaining valuable experience.
“I think they’re showing a lot of progress and they’ll be ready for next year when we have more numbers and they’ll be a little bit older,” she said.
Haley Harkins was averaging a team-high eight points through four games.
“She’s been showing a lot of improvement,” Ruffin said. “This is her first year playing basketball, so I couldn’t ask for a better improvement.”
Ava Flowers was second on the team at three points per game.
“She’s really been standing out and improving, too,” Ruffin said.
The Braves are scheduled to play Groveport on Feb. 22 in what would be their last game of the season, but Ruffin said last week that she was planning to schedule additional games.
Whetstone opted out of the Division I postseason, but regular-season games can be added until the tournament has concluded.