Josie Bunstine is young in terms of high school.
The Northridge sophomore is anything but in the pool. Bunstine won two events, leading the young talent on display Saturday in the Viking Splash at New Albany High School.
Bunstine won the 200 individual medley (2:26.02) and 100 butterfly (1:04.68). Her time in the IM was a personal best.
“From my times last year, I am a lot faster, so that is really good and exciting,” Bunstine said. “I think my 100 fly is around three seconds faster than where it was at this time last year, so that bodes well for the rest of this season.”
Bunstine is just one of the three girls on Northridge, but she makes the most of her time in the water. She did not swim the 100 breaststroke at this meet, but she likely will add that to her repertoire in future meets.
“I would like to improve my backstroke. It has gotten a little bit better,” Bunstine said. “Fly and breaststroke are my thing. Breaststroke has been my best stroke since day one, and my fly has gotten up there.”
Bunstine’s teammate, Riley Love, was second in the 100 backstroke (1:11.46) and third in the 50 freestyle (28.28). Brandon Eckstein placed third in the 200 IM (2:35.98) and fourth in the 100 fly (1:04.57) to lead the Northridge boys to a third-place team finish. Chris Lindsay in the 100 back (1:11.36) and Paul Haught in the 500 free (7:44.39) added fourths.
“High school season is very fun and very team-oriented,” Bunstine said. “I love my team, so it is so much fun for me. I love being with them and around them.”
Bunstine has been swimming for the Licking County Family YMCA since she was 9 years old, and she wasn’t the only Shark to have a banner day. Freshmen Spencer Bowman and Hannah Dehus helped Newark to strong swims.
Bowman placed third in the 200 free (2:23.71) and fourth in the 100 back (1:18.51). She and Dehus helped the Wildcats to fifth-place finishes in the 200 medley (2:27.43) and 200 free (2:08.26) relays.
The Newark freshmen are following the right path. Sophomore Philip Hall led the boys with a title in the 100 back (1:04.83) and a third-place finish in the 100 fly (1:04.12). Hall, seniors Brandon Logan and Zach Hostetter and junior Jordan Kidd added a third in the 200 free relay (1:53.98).
“My first few years I had like five or six teammates; not very many people,” Logan said. “Seeing new people come into the program is really nice, knowing I am not going to be the last one to swim at Newark for a few years. It is nice to know there is going to be somebody carrying it on.”
The Newark Catholic girls have its share of young stars, too, and freshman Megan Stanton led the way with a runner-up finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.91) and a fourth in the 200 IM (2:34.10). The Green Wave quartet of Stanton, McKi Reid, Katelyn Zimpher and Emily Vines added fourths in the 200 medley (2:22.13) and 200 free (2:03.90) relays.
“I am really pleasantly surprised at the times I am getting, and they will get better,” first-year Green Wave coach Mike Rickards said. “They have told me they are already hitting times where they were at last year.”
Lakewood’s Nathaniel Graham was a double winner in the boys meet. He won the 100 free (54.78) and 200 free (2:02.24). The Lancers have a number of first-time swimmers for first-year coach Krista Weekly.
“I think that they see everyone learning at the same time and improving their own thing,” Weekly said. “(Graham’s) performance does give that motivation of what they are aiming for.”