Combined title the goal for North swimming

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By Brad Stephens

Expectations have changed for North Oldham’s swim team.

Five years ago just qualifying a swimmer for the state tournament was a big accomplishment, North coach Randy Scherer said.

Now North has its eyes set on a combined title in the KHSAA state swim championships, which take place this weekend at the Ralph Wright Natatorium at the University of Louisville.

Prelims are Friday, with championships to be swam Saturday. 

Earlier this month North had a combined team score of 426 at the Region 2 championships in Louisville. 

The Mustangs and Lady Mustangs combined team scores ranked highest out of all public schools, all teams that fielded girls and boys squads and all teams that didn’t participate in diving.

This weekend North is out to do the same at state competition, senior Clayton Helsley said.

“Everybody wants to continue the momentum,” Helsley said. “Region 2 is the hardest region to get out of in swimming, and I think that winning regionals combined really showed everybody we have a good chance at the state meet.”

North has several swimmers or relay teams with high seeds, notably sophomore Grace Oglesby, the No. 1 seed in the girls 100-yard butterfly.

Oglesby tied Olympian Mary T. Meagher’s 32-year old Region 2 record at the region meet with a time of 54.88 seconds.

“Quite honestly I expect her to drop some times over where she was at regionals,” Scherer said. “She’s a great competitor and will always rise to the occasion, so I’m excited to see what she does there.”

Other high seeds include Helsley, the No. 4 seed in the boys 50-yard freestyle, Kate Tarvestad, who qualified eighth in the girls 500-yard freestyle and Arseniy Semenov, the No. 10 seed in the boys 100-yard butterfly.

Other county teams have swimmers expected to contend for the podium.

Oldham County has the No. 6 and 7 seeds in the girls 100-yard butterfly, Emma Skinner and Olivia Hoskins. The Lady Colonels also have the No. 9 team in the girls 200-yard medley relay.

South Oldham sent several relay teams and will look for big performances out of Lydia Jackson, who qualified 10th in the girls 500-yard freestyle and 15th in the 200-yard freestyle.

Other teams contending with North for the combined state title include Ballard, Elizabethtown, Manual and Tates Creek, Helsley said.

He predicted the championship could come down to the final event – the girls 400-yard freestyle relay.

“I think it’s going to come down to that final relay on the girls side on Saturday night,” Helsley said. “Where can we slip in some extra points? Who can drop some time and get up there and increase some spots and push those Ballard and E’Town and Tates Creek swimmers out?

“It’ll be a good meet and I think that we have a good chance, but there’s a lot of teams… that can definitely push us out.