GAHANNA – A pair of standout seniors have shouldered the load this winter for the Granville boys swim team.
Their talents again were on display this past Saturday during the Division II sectional meet at Columbus Academy. Timmy Spichiger and Grant Stahl led the Blue Aces to a runner-up team finish behind the host Vikings.
Spichiger won the 200 freestyle (1:51.23) and 500 free (5:06.62), and Stahl won the 100 butterfly (53.53) while taking a close second in the 200 individual medley (2:02.90).
“Since we are still in the midst of our taper, I will still be able to gain more endurance,” Spichiger said. “Plus, I have other kids on my team that are swimming kind of in the same ballpark as I am, so that helps because I know I will be able to come back and not die at district or state.”
The Blue Aces compete in the district meet at 10 a.m. Friday at Ohio University.
Spichiger, who is eyeing the district record in the 500 free, joined Stahl, junior Colin McDermott and sophomore Rowan Moore in winning the 200 free relay (1:37.21).
“I definitely think our 200 free relay will make it to state, which is nice,” Spichiger said. “I really like the relay because it is right after the 500. I will have a couple minutes to warm down and then be able to get right back into it.”
The same foursome was just edged out for the title in the 200 medley relay (1:44.97) by Academy. The Blue Aces expect to battle the Vikings all the way to the state meet.
Spichiger said the teams have a friendly rivalry. He knows many of his competitors from year-round club competition, and Tin Le, one of Academy’s standouts, swam for Granville a season ago.
“Right when they out-touched us, we weren’t mad at them. It was just like, ‘Good job. See you next week,’” Spichiger said. “It is still competitive, but there is not a lot of tension between teams. In the 200 free, (Bishop Hartley’s Patrick Lawrence) who got second is one of my best friends on my club team.”
This season, Granville has a less-experienced team, but the Blue Aces are not short on talent. Many of the fresh faces also will be competing Friday.
Moore qualified in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.74) and 200 IM (2:20.50); freshman Jesse Faler in the 200 IM (2:29.63) and 500 free (5:54.22) and freshman Nathan DeMent in the 100 backstroke (1:08.62). Faler, DeMent, Kevin Miller and Tristan Mullins qualified on an all-freshman 400 free relay (4:08.82).
Spichiger has enjoyed playing a role in their development. He and Stahl will leave the Granville program in good hands.
“A lot of them I feel look up to me,” Spichiger said. “They always ask me for advice about their swim. One kid was really nervous about his 200 (on Saturday). I pointed him in the right direction. Even when I was a freshman, I looked up to the seniors, so it is kind of like I have taken that role.”