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Ada swim team aims for state meet

Story and photos by Cort Reynolds

The 2021-22 Ada varsity swim team has a good chance to advance a few individuals and a relay team to the state meet this winter.

Former Ohio Northern University swimmers Katey Stuart and Marisa Barton will coach the Ada swim program this season. Ada native Stuart is back for her second season at the helm. Stuart has returned from pharmacy rotations out of state for most of November.

The team is practicing at the ONU natatorium after using the Kenton YMCA last season due to COVID restrictions. Assistant coach Barton ran practices during November.

A total of 13 swimmers, including nine girls and four boys, comprise the team roster.

Six letter winners return to the squad, including three with district meet swim experience from last season.

Junior ace Carlie Oldfield tops the returnees. She finished fifth in a field of 32 swimmers in the district meet at Bowling Green in the 100 backstroke last winter. She broke a 30-year old school record in the process with a time of 61.36.

Oldfield has a promising shot at taking the next step of qualifying for the state meet this season. "I would love for her to make it to state in the backstroke, that is a goal for us," said Barton. "I think she would be a good candidate to do well in the individual medley as well."

Oldfield also finished 11th out of 32 competitors in the 50-yard freestyle at BG in 2021. Oldfield swam a leg for the 200 medley relay quartet that finished 14th out of 24 teams at the district meet. Two of the other three swimmers from that foursome also return to team with a promising freshman to make a run at state as well.

Classmate Kaitlyn Bowden was a key part of the district-qualifying relay squad. "She does a lot of events and has a really good stroke in the back and fly," said Barton. "She is also very solid in freestyle."

Bowden finished 27th in the 100 fly at the district meet last winter. 

As freshmen, Oldfield and Bowden were also part of the 2020 Ada girls 200 freestyle relay quartet that finished 16th in the state meet at Canton. 

Junior Kayla Wince also returns after swimming a leg for the district relay quartet. "She is 100 percent the team's number one breaststroker," said Barton. 

Promising freshman Lily Baumgartner has been a standout on the Ada summer swim team, and brings her talents to the Bulldogs this winter. She should fill the fourth spot on the relay team, while also swimming free and fly events. "She has a really good butterfly stroke," said Barton. "I would love to see her get to state in the 100 fly."

Five newcomers to the program round out the rest of the girls roster.

Sophomore Autumn Andreasen has gotten previous pool experience with the Ada summer swim team. "She has a real good fly stroke, and will also do some free and breaststroke events," offered the coach.

Freshman Jenna Bassitt "loves breaststroke and will do some freestyle events as well," said Barton.

Freshman Aubrie Nash also joins the team. "I really like her freestyle," said Barton. 

Freshmen Kennedy Jones and Natilyn McClain are newcomers to swimming. ""Both of them have good freestyle strokes and may do some sprint events," offered Barton.

The boys roster features three lettermen among its three juniors and one sophomore.

Junior Connor Daugherty returns and will perform the freestyle sprint events. He will likely swim the free leg for the medley relay squad.

Sophomore Jack Baumgartner also returns to swim the butterfly and freestyle events.

Returning letterman Brayden Miller is expected to swim the free and breast events.

Dylan Hartman will compete in the freestyle and backstroke. 

"I am really excited to see how everyone does," said Barton. She has previously coached youth swimming in her hometown of St. Louis. She swam three seasons at ONU as well.

The Bulldogs dive into competition December 6 at Bluffton. The Van Wert Invitational is Dec. 16 at Elida. 

The NCOSL conference title meet will again be held at Colonel Crawford Saturday, January 29. 

A dual meet at county rival Kenton February 1 is followed by a tri-meet vs. Lima Senior and Bluffton Feb. 2 to end the regular season.

In post-season competition, Ada will swim in the Lima sectionals. The district competition will again be held at Bowling Green. 

The state meet will be held in Canton.