Ned Reeb would have been proud of his alma mater on Saturday at the prestigious swim meet which carries his name.
At an event featuring many of the top swimmers in Ohio, Granville’s girls set four meet records and the boys team also performed well in the 20th Ned Reeb Memorial at Ohio State. Reeb, a 1963 Granville graduate who died in 1993, and his family have been major forces in Licking County swimming for many years.
Three-time state champion Sydney King and Abby Stone, who has figured in two state titles for the Blue Aces, helped the Granville girls place second among Division I and II teams while trailing only mighty Upper Arlington.
King, a senior, won the 200 freestyle in 1:51.10 by more than a second as well as the 500 freestyle in 4:57.59.
Stone, a junior, had a part in four meet records including wins in the 100 backstroke (56.21) and the 200 individual medley (2:04.91). She and King, Paige Griesse and Keely Lovern set a meet record by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:32.87, and Lovern, Kassandra Mestemaker, Stones and King won their specialty — the 200 medley relay — in a record 1:46.05. It wasn’t that far off the state record 1:44.22 they swam in February to win the state championship.
The freestyle relay title was especially satisfying, when King came from behind on the anchor leg to nip Upper Arlington by 0.02.
“All four people stepped up, which was the best thing,” King said. “Right now, it’s more about racing then times, but it’s always so competitive here. Upper Arlington is so strong and so deep.”
“We’re also really good friends with them (Upper Arlington), and it always seems like we’re chasing them,” Stone said. “We’ve never beaten them. We didn’t know we had the record, because it’s really more about racing now.
“We lost two seniors from last year, and Paige and Keely really stepped up and went really fast.”
The medley relay actually set the meet record in the morning, then lowered it by three seconds in the evening.
“Everyone put pressure on us (in the medley relay) because we were the state champs with the state record, and we crushed that,” Lovern said. “No one expected us to win the other relay, but we beat the defending state champs.”
Lovern, who will swim at the University of Kentucky, also was fourth in the 200 IM in 2:11.5 and fifth in the 100 back in 58.44 to help the Blue Aces gain valuable points. Mestemaker was fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.09.
King, headed to Western Kentucky, is enjoying a new leadership role this season.
“It’s always been more leadership by example, but as a senior, I need to try and bring everyone together, and I think we’re more of a team this year,” she said.
Stone noted that the medley relay was only a second and a half off its state record this early in the season.
“To swim this well in mid-season, is enormous for the end of the season,” she said. “It’s kind of a checkpoint and gives us more confidence. All the hard training is paying off.”
New girls coach John Sands, who swam at Granville and the University of North Carolina, said the team is also targeting the Big 8’s meet in Canton which features the top eight teams in the state from last year in Division I and II.
Wagner leads boys
Senior Sam Wagner, a state qualifier last year, got this year off to a strong start at the Reeb Memorial with a sixth place in the 100 freestyle (48.62) and seventh in the 50 free (22.06) for the Granville boys. He also swam with Grant Stahl, Timmy Spichinger and Tin Le on the fifth-place 200 freestyle relay (1:30.09) and the seventh-place 400 free relay (3:20.24).
The Blue Aces finished 11th overall and second among Division II schools.
“It lets us know where we are, and we’re really excited,” Wagner said. “We’re excited that we did so well now, and are pumped up to see where it’s going by the end of the year. We lost a lot of seniors from last year, which is tough to make up for, but we have a great group this year with a lot of leadership.”
“We had four good swims, and they really put it together in the prelims and the finals,” said new boys coach Tyler Prose, who swam at Westerville North and Ohio State. “We were able to drop time in the finals, which is always great.”
Wagner said Prose brings a lot of energy to the program.
“People really like that, and it motivates us pretty well,” he said.
Wagner and senior Dannie Roberts, a senior freestyle sprinter for the Granville girls, were presented with the Central Ohio Swimming Association scholarships by Mary Ann Reeb and the family at the meet. The awards were based on academics, swimming and community service.
“A lot of it is about community service, and it’s quite an honor, knowing the story about Ned Reeb and his family and what they’re all about,” Wagner said.
He said Roberts is well deserving of the award. “I know the other girls think she’s a good leader, and has really made the most of her opportunity to be a leader as a senior,” Wagner said.