Newark Catholic-Lakewood swim coach Kenzie Brune has a luxury she’s not used to this winter.
“It’s nice to have some freshmen to work with for the next few years,” she said of the Green Wave. “Normally, it’s just juniors and seniors.”
Her Lakewood team has some talented sophomores, led by Nathaniel Graham and Allie Rose. In a recent quadrangular between Licking County teams at the YMCA, Graham won the 100 freestyle in 1:00.12, taking more than one second off his seed time. He also won the 100 backstroke.
A stellar Watkins Memorial girls team is dominated by sophomores, and paced by Kayla Fenimore, Jayna Hulse and Shelby Seas. In the Y meet, Fenimore won the 50 freestyle (:31.45) and the 100 butterfly, while Hulse took the 200 free and 100 backstroke and Seas the 200 individual medley and 100 free. All three swam on the winning 200 medley and 200 free relays.
“I try to switch some things up, let the kids do some things they don’t normally do,” coach Heidi Williams said. “It’s good to see what times they can do against good competition.”
Newark’s roster is dominated by freshmen and sophomores, with freshman Phillip Hall winning the 100 butterfly and finishing second in the 500 free at the Northridge Viking Splash Invitational. “He’s getting better in the 100 fly every time,” coach Kris Read said.
Heath also has a sophomore-dominated roster, led by Trevor Price and Greg Ybarra.
Timing it up
Local teams have nearly one month before embarking on conference meets, sectionals and district.
January is an important month to lower times and get relays in order.
“I’m already flirting with the times I had last year,” said Lakewood senior Jarod Rose. “For it being this early, that’s real good.”
The 100 butterfly is the specialty for Fenimore and, in the recent Y meet, she beat all comers — including the boys.
“I’m already under 1:05, which is what I had at the end of last year,” she said. “If I can get it down to 1:02 for the sectional, I would be in really good shape.”
“Now is the time you want to be preparing for the championship meets,” Williams said.
Brune is blessed with a variety of athletes for NC, including volleyball and softball players.
“We can interchange the kids a lot,” she said. “The relay teams will start clicking and getting their times down for the district.”
The Mid-State League-Ohio Division meet will be Jan. 26 at Columbus Academy, with sectionals set for Feb. 9.
In addition to their December meet, hosted by Newark, Lakewood, Newark Catholic and Watkins Memorial also competed in a meet at the YMCA this past Saturday along with Heath in a meet that was hosted by the Green Wave.
Read, in his first year as Newark coach, wants as many meets as possible at the Y.
“We need to have these home meets, and generate that support from the community,” he said.
“It’s always good to have the people nearby,” Williams said. “It’s good, fun competition.”