GAHANNA – The postseason is underway, and it is clear the Granville girls swim team plans to be well-represented at the Division II state meet.
The Blue Aces graduated a chunk of the team that contributed to their state success the past few years, but the cupboard is far from bare. Led by star Abby Stone, Granville placed a strong second to host Columbus Academy in the team standings this past Saturday at Columbus Academy.
“We lost a lot of seniors from last year, which is unfortunate, but we have a lot of new freshmen,” Stone said. “Everyone is stepping up, so it’s pretty exciting.”
Stone was dominant as usual, winning the 200 individual medley (2:07.47) and 100 backstroke (57.23), and she carries the top time in each heading into Friday’s district meet at Ohio University. The Blue Aces had a slew of other top placers and qualifiers, too.
The meet begins at 10 a.m.
Stone, classmates Paige Griesse and Maggie McGonagle and sophomore Sarah Martin also won the 200 medley relay (1:54.89). The Blue Aces have set quite a bar for themselves in that event in recent years, finishing fifth, second, first and first the past four years, setting the state record in 2013.
“We haven’t swam the medley relay the four of us together that many times, so each time we swim it together it gets better and better,” Stone said. “We get used to each other swimming in and doing relay starts off each other. We are in a pretty good spot. We are happy with where we are.”
The same foursome finished second in the 400 freestyle relay (3:44.25), and Martin, who has stepped right into the big shoes left by the 2014 seniors, had a pair of runner-up finishes in the 100 butterfly (1:01.67) and 200 free (2:02.67). Griesse added a third in the 50 free (55.90) and a fifth in the 200 free (2:05.76).
Coach Brandy Frias was pleased to see how the rest of the roster fared, too, and several younger Blue Aces will be competing Friday.
Alexa Specht (2:14.80) and Grace Havens (2:16.95) in the 200 free; Lauren Rutherford, the team’s fourth senior, (2:33.59); Sydney Bednarski (2:36.87); and Brooke Kauchak (2:36.93) in the 200 IM; Bailey Bradshaw (27.67) and Avery Bednarski (28.03) in the 50 free; Emily Kauchak in the 100 fly (1:14.48); Bradshaw (59.53) and Sydney Bednarski (1:02.11) in the 100 free; Avery Bednarski (6:09.36) and Emily Kauchak (6:23.53) in the 500 free; McGonagle (1:06.64); Specht (1:07.79) and Rutherford (1:10.83) in the 100 back and Havens in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.76) also qualified in individual events.
“I am all about kids getting the opportunity to just swim in such a competitive environment,” Frias said. “It is wonderful for them.”
Sydney Bednarski, Avery Bednarski, Specht and Havens in the 200 free relay (1:52.99) is Granville’s final qualifier.
With some new names in key spots, the Blue Aces remain confident in what they can accomplish during the next two weeks. They are ready to put their stamp on the 2014-15 season.
“It’s definitely different, even from being juniors to seniors,” Stone said. “We had a lot of seniors last year. … We were leaders last year, but we didn’t really get a chance to step in and be the head of the team. It’s exciting helping everyone bond and have fun.”