Chillicothe's swimmers are the kind of group that prefers to be called a family instead of a team of seven. That's because this isn't really a team at all, but rather a group of theoretical brothers and sisters. Coach Pam Allen said its what makes the Cavaliers so much fun to be a part of.
Chillicothe hosted Athens, Washington Court House and Hillsboro in a quad meet Saturday at the Ross County YMCA. The boys finished second with 96 points and the girls third with 109. They didn't pull out first-place team finishes, but they pulled a lot of smiles and placed well. For the Cavs, that's a good day in the water.
"We had so many laughs and just good times today," Allen said. "Swimming is just a different animal. It's individual, but it's a team sport. I'm just so proud of these kids. I was a little apprehensive about taking the swimming team again this year, but this is just a great group of kids. It's just a fun-filled, loving group. I just love what I do."
The boys placed second behind the Blue Lions, who finished with 144 points. Chillicothe grabbed three first-place finishes: Lander Zook in the 100 breaststroke; the 200 medley relay of David Masters, Zook, Joel DeGarmo and Per Peterson; and the 200 free relay of Masters, Degarmo, Zook and Peterson. Dominic Villareal (200 freestyle, 500 free), Degarmo (100 butterfly) and Masters (100 backstroke) each had second-place finishes. Masters also added a third in the 100 free, and Peterson finished third in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breast.
"There were two relays -- the 200 medley and the 200 free -- and Peterson was the anchor on both. He got left left behind and had to really kick to get back in it and we won both of them," Allen said. "I was just so proud of them today. It's the first time in a couple of years that we've had eight boys."
The girls placed third behind Washington Court House (118) and the Bulldogs (131), but also picked up three first-place finishes. MacKenzie Smitley in the 200 IM and 100 breast, and Abby Guerra in the 500 free won events. Hannah Lunde picked up second-place finishes in the 100 and 200 free. The 400 free relay of Lunde, Guerra, Chianne Burgin and Smitley also finished second. Burgin added a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke, and Hannah Arth was third in the 50 free. The 200 medley of DeGarmo, Lunde, Smitley and Burgin also took third.
"I've just been happy for the whole season. My kids are swimming very, very well. They're performing," Allen said. "Today, we had some sluggish times, but sectionals are coming up and that's when you need to perform because that's when you move on. The kids try so hard and work so hard. I'm proud of these kids. It's their home pool and a lot of their friends were here to see them. This was just a fun meet."
Chillicothe will be back in action next Saturday at Rio Grande.