Notebook: Thomas Worthington Cardinals swimming relays feature 'state hopefuls'

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Grant Simeone is one of several Thomas boys swimmers competing for relay spots in the postseason. Coach Keeler Callahan said the relays feature "state hopefuls."

After the Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne swimming and diving teams competed against each other in a dual Jan. 23 at Thomas, coach Keeler Callahan said he was fairly confident in his postseason assignments for both squads.

The Cardinals and Wolves will compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 13 at Thomas. 

“That’s what I was using as our final measuring stick going into the postseason,” Callahan said. “They’re swimming great. We’re in a really good spot heading into the back stretch of the season here.” 

While relays and individual events for Thomas’ top swimmers are getting closer to being settled, one thing that’s been made clear throughout the season is the Thomas boys team has the most depth of all four Worthington swimming teams, Callahan said. 

It’s a good problem to have, he said, with multiple talented swimmers competing for a spot on the Cardinals’ 200-yard freestyle relay. 

“They have a couple more players and it’s kind of been a competition throughout the year to see who’s going to be on those relays, because there’s state hopefuls in all of those relays,” Callahan said. 

As of last week, Matt Fralic, Eli Short, Grant Simeone, Zach Barnes, Connor Florence and Blake Ament were vying for those four spots on the 200 free relay, Callahan said. 

Fralic, Florence, Barnes and Short placed first (1 minute, 30.5 seconds) in the 200 free relay against the Wolves. 

“Really, any of them could (be on the relay),” Callahan said. “It’s just who’s got the hot hand. These last couple of meets I’m going to see who’s looking good and who’s going to be able to take those spots.” 

The 200 medley relay is nearly settled, Callahan said, with Florence looking like the favorite to join Fralic, Short and Simeone. 

“The person who looks like he’s going to step up and take (2020 graduate) Sam Steele’s position on that relay is Connor Florence on that butterfly leg,” Callahan said. “He’s been doing a nice job for us.” 

On the girls team, Sloane Antonetz is expected to compete in the 100 fly and 100 backstroke in the postseason, while Charlotte Helm is expected to compete in the 50 free and 100 free, Callahan said. 

Nataliya Kallergis, Maia Lin, Katie Browning and Natalie Smith are expected to be busy on Thomas’ relays in the postseason. 

“Those girls kind of make up all of the relays on that side, and they’re working well together right now,” Callahan said. 

Kilbourne's Nathan Ambler is expected to compete in the 100 free and 200 free in the postseason.

Kilbourne girls relays

ready for postseason

Callahan said it looks like Kilbourne’s 2020 state-qualifying girls 200 free and 200 medley relays are ready to chase another state appearance. 

Featuring veterans Lauren Richner, Evie DeCarlo, Nanami Campbell and Paige Delma, the 200 medley relay placed first (1:48.65) against Thomas on Jan. 23. Those four didn’t swim on the 200 free relay in the meet, but finished first in the 400 free relay in 3:40.08. 

“Our same four Kilbourne girls, they look like they’re primed for the end of the year and ready to make their usual postseason run,” Callahan said. 

They are expected to be busy individually, too. 

Richner is expected to compete in the 50 free and 100 free, with DeCarlo in the 100 breaststroke and 100 free, Campbell in the 50 free and 100 free and Delma in the 200 individual medley and 100 breast, Callahan said. 

On the boys side, Callahan said Ben Ambler impressed against Thomas by placing first in the 500 free in 5:11.45.

“He made a really big jump (that week) in his 500 free, and it’s showing some promise for the end of the year,” Callahan said. 

Ambler will compete in the 500 free and 200 IM in the postseason. 

Nathan Ambler is expected to compete in the 100 free and 200 free, with Christopher Richner in the 100 back and 100 free, Callahan said.  

Thomas and Kilbourne have one more regular-season meet scheduled against Watterson and each other on Feb. 6. 

“After our meet on (Jan. 23) I think we’re in a great spot,” Callahan said. “I’m super excited to give these kids some rest ... and I think they’re going to surprise themselves. I think they’re primed for some great swimming here at the end of the year.” 

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