It was a prep swimming season to remember.
Whether it was Michael Eaton finishing second in the 100-yard breaststroke at the state meet or weather corrupting much of the season, there was something for almost everyone.
The annual all Times Leader Swimming Team has been chosen by the Times Leader Sports Staff with the help of area coaches.
PICTURED IS the 2014 all Times Leader Swimming Team. Front row, from left, are St. Clairsville’s Michael Eaton, Delainey Banks, Carly Falcone, D.J. Beck,?Dylan Krone, Chris Blackwell and Alaina Fasola. Second row, from left, are Barnesville’s Carolyn Blattler, Kasi Castello, Olivia Jones, Myka Gordon, Shelby Wells, Alexis Starr, Abbey McMillen and Alexis Moore. Top row, from left, are St. John’s Central’s Austin Schramm, Martins Ferry’s Brandon Bliss, Alyssa Kalinski, Tara Fogle, Abbey Ecker and Shelby Poludniak.
The aforementioned Eaton, who re-wrote the area and OVAC recordbooks en route to his state medal, has been named as the boys' captain.
Martins Ferry freshman Alyssa Kalinski has been named the girls' captain after a brilliant first season.
Here's a capsule look at the honorees:
MICHAEL EATON, St. Clairsville - This senior standout put the finishing touches on a brilliant prep career by finishing as state runnerup in the 100 breaststroke.
Eaton - a four-time state qualifier - also earned all-Ohio in the 100 freestyle, placing seventh.
Eaton's 56.62 clocking in the breaststroke also earned him all-American honors. He was the district champion in the breaststroke and claimed both the breast and freestyle at the OVAC meet.
In the prelim breaststroke swim, Eaton posted a career-best time of 56.27, which is an all-time OVAC record.
Eaton was also a member of Red Devils' relay teams that qualified for the district and finished second and third in the OVAC.
"Michael has an awesome work ethic," said his mother and head coach, Melanie. "Hopefully, that will continue to pay off for him. He had an awesome career."
ALYSSA KALINSKI, Martins Ferry - This freshman burst onto the scene in a big way for the Lady Riders this winter.
Kalinski was the OVAC champion in the 500 freestyle and finished second in the 200 free at the conference meet. She also medaled on a pair of relay teams.
Her success didn't stop there. She was a district qualifier in four events, earning all district in the 500 free by finishing fifth and sixth on the Ferry 200 medley relay.
She established new school record marks in the 200 freestyle (2:03.92), 500 freestyle (5:25.25) and 100 breaststroke (1:16.67).
"Alyssa had an incredible freshman season," Ferry head coach Nick Levi said. "She was our leading scorer this season and went undefeated in dual competition. Her success didn't happen overnight. She has put in countless yards and time in the pool leading back to the time she was in elementary school. I am very excited for what the future holds for her."
SHELBY POLUDNIAK, Martins Ferry - This Purple Rider senior accomplished something no other Ferry swimmer had done. She qualified to the district in four events for the fourth consecutive season.
Poludniak took part in the 500 free, 100 back, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay at the district. The 200 medley relay team earned all-district with a sixth-place finish.
She was eighth in the 100 backstroke at the OVAC meet. The 200 medley relay was third overall.
"Shelby continued to build on her success from her junior year," Levi said. "She had several dual-meet victories for us and placed very high in invitationals. Shelby is a big reason why we had another successful season. She scored a ton of points for us over the past four seasons and was a big part of our team's success. She was a pleasure to coach and will be greatly missed."
TARA FOGLE, Martins Ferry - This Lady Riders sophomore continued her fine, but still relatively young prep career this season.
She qualified to the district in the 100 fly and 100 backstroke as an individual after placing sixth and seventh, respectively, at the OVAC in those two events. She also swam on two relays in the district meet, including the 200 medley that finished third at the OVAC.
Fogle posted season-best times of 1:09.31 in the 100 back and 1:09.33 in the 100 fly.
"Tara is a very versatile swimmer and we used her in all eight events to see what would be best for her to advance to the district meet," Levi said. "We could always count on her to score us a lot of points in both duals and invitationals. Tara worked extremely hard for us in practice and always gave us 110 percent effort. Her future is bright."
ABBEY ECKER, Martins Ferry - This Lady Riders' sophomore had a break-out campaign.
After missing out on the district meet in 2013, Ecker earned the right to compete in four events this season. She was an individual qualifier in the 200 IM and 500 free. She was an all-district performer as part of the Lady Riders' medley relay team.
That same medley relay team finished third at the OVAC. Ecker was ninth in the 200 free at the conference championship. Her best times for the season for 2:20.54 in the 200 free and 6:20.00 in the 500 free.
"We swam Abbey in several events to give us an idea of which events would be her best to advance to the district meet," Levi said. "She had several events that she could have succeeded in. We chose the 200 IM and 500 free and prior to this season, she'd never swam those two events. What she was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time is a remarkable feat."
CARLY FALCONE, St. Clairsville - This senior was once again a model of consistency for Devils.
She finished with a bronze medal at the OVAC in the 100 fly and qualified for the district in the breaststroke. She was also a key member on Lady Devils' relay teams.
"Carly did a great job this year," said head coach Melanie Eaton. "She worked hard and was very consistent."
ALAINA FASOLA, St. Clairsville - This Lady Red Devils senior put forth another solid campaign in the Red and Gray.
Fasola was fourth at the OVAC in the 100 freestyle and qualified to the district in the same event. She, too, was a member of Lady Red Devils' relay teams.
"Alaina was injury free this year and really worked hard," Melanie Eaton said. "She had a really good season."
DELAINEY BANKS, St. Clairsville - This Lady Devils' sophomore was a versatile performer for Coach Eaton's squad this winter.
Banks placed at the OVAC in the 500 freestyle and qualified for the district in the individual medley along with performing on multiple St. C. relay teams.
"Delainey is developing very nicely into a very good swimmer," Melanie Eaton said. "She had some really nice drops in time this year."
HANNA VERA, St. Clairsville - This Lady Red Devils' sophomore became more aggressive in the water and it paid off for her.
Vera was a valuable member of all three St. C. relay teams. They placed third, fourth and third in the OVAC and scored in all three at the district two weeks ago.
"Hanna has a great relay start," Melanie Eaton said. "She has really started to go after races. I look forward to some good things to come from her."
SHELBY WELLS, Barnesville - This senior put forther a brilliant final season in the Red and Green.
Wells was the sectional champion in the 100 breaststroke and also qualified for the district as a member of the Lady Shamrocks' 200 medley relay.
"Shelby has been working for four years to qualify to the district as an individual and this year she 'dove head first' into practice with the determination to do it," said Barnesville head coach Bobbi Jo Johnson. "She broke a school record that's stood for 10 years."
KASI CASTELLO, Barnesville - This Lady Shamrock freshman made an instant impact for Johnson's team this season.
Castello was an individual qualifier to the district in the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. She also advanced in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
"Kasi did a great job this year," Johnson said. "She had some shoulder issues, but was able to swim through the pain and anchor our relays."
CAROLYN BLATTLER, Barnesville - This Lady Shamrock made her last season one of her best.
Blattler a standout in multiple events qualified for the district as an individual in the 100 fly and the 200 free. She also swam on the 200 and 400 relays that earned a trip to the district.
"Carolyn has always had lead-off legs in our relays and has always given us outstanding starts," Johnson said. "She's always been that kind of swimmer that's able to kick it in when she needed to help a relay."
ALEXIS STARR, Barnesville - This sophomore turned in a fine campaign for Johnson's squad.
Swimming primarily in the 100 breaststroke, Starr earned a trip to the district in the event. She also swam on the medley relay team in the district.
"Alexis was able to push herself as well as several of the other girls with her quickness," Johnson said.
ABBEY McMILLEN, Barnesville - This sophomore had a fine second season for the Lady Shamrocks.
She posted times in the sectional that were good enough to earn her a district trip in the 100 butterfly and also as part of the 200 medley team.
"I have to say Abbey was the surprise of our season," Johnson said. "I think she even surprised herself on several swims."
ALEXIS MOORE, Barnesville - This junior was a solid contributor in a variety of areas and events for the Lady Shamrocks in just her first season of prep swimming.
Moore was a key cog on the 200 medley relay team that earned its way to the district swimming championship.
"Alexis played basketball for two years and decided to swim this season," Johnson said. "She has some things to continue to work on, but she was an asset for us this year."
MYKA GORDON, Barnesville - This junior isn't the tallest swimmer you're going to find, but according to her coach, her starts are what separate her.
Gordon was a key cog in the Lady Shamrocks' relay teams that qualified for the district. She was a member of both the 200 and 400 freestyle teams.
"Myka has always been able to step up when needed or behind to bring in a time that's needed," Johnson said. "She's been to the district all three years both on relays and as an individual."
OLIVIA JONES, Barnesville - This junior is a solid individual competitor, but Johnson believes her best work is done on relay teams.
Jones proved that to be true once again this season, qualifying for the district as a member of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.
"Olivia has always been able to give us that extra push we need," Johnson said.
BRANDON BLISS, Martins Ferry - This Purple Rider sophomore was a model of versatility this season, swimming all eight events at one point or another.
His primary events, however, were the 500 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. He was a district scorer in both events, finishing seventh in the 500 free and ninth in the 100 back. He was also the bronze medalist in the OVAC 100 backstroke, while also nabbing a sixth-place finish in the 100 breast,
His top time in the 100 backstroke was 1:00.91 and the a 5:20.45 in the 500 freestyle.
"Brandon scored the most points this season for us on the boys' side," Levi said. "Brandon only swam the 500 a handful of times this season. He dropped 17 seconds from his entry time at sectionals to his district time race. He also dropped more than a minute from his best (500) time last season. It's just a testament to his hardwork and dedication. Brandon was a big part of the reason the boys team had the success that it did. He put the time in and his accomplishments are reflective of his hardwork."
AUSTIN SCHRAMM, St. John - This Irish freshman turned several heads during the course of his rookie campaign.
Schramm was a standout in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. He qualified for the district in both events and finished eighth in the OVAC in the free and fourth in the back.
He was 12th in the district in the 100 backstroke.
"Coming into the season, Austin didn't really know what to expect," SJC head coach Eric Vostatek said. "Austin doesn't like to lose and he's very hard himself when he doesn't get the time he thinks he could have, so it's no surprise to anyone that he went as far as he did this year. I think he'll be one of the swimmers to watch for the next three years."
D.J. BECK, St. Clairsville - This Red Devils' junior had a solid season once again.
Beck qualified to the district in the 100 butterfly. He was ninth at the OVAC in the 200 IM and eighth in the 100 fly.
Beck was also a key cog on the Red Devils' relay teams that placed in both the conference and district meets.
"D.J. really worked hard this year and had some nice drops in time because of that," said St. C. head coach Melanie Eaton.
CHRISTOPHER BLACKWELL, St. Clairsville - This sophomore has worked himself into a strong contributor for the Red Devils.
He finished ninth in the 200 freestyle and 13th in the 100 back at the OVAC and qualified for the district in the 200 freestyle. He was also a member of the two quality St. C. relay teams that placed in the district meet.
"Chris has turned into quite a good swimmer," Melanie Eaton said. "He works hard and it's paid off for him. We're anxious to see what he'll do in the future."
DYLAN KRONE, St. Clairsville - This freshman had a big first season for the Red Devils.
He was 10th at the OVAC in the 100 butterfly and qualified as an individual to the district in the same event.
Along with his individual efforts, Krone was a key cog on the St. C. relays that placed in the OVAC and district meets.
"Dylan had a good freshman season," Melanie Eaton said. "I definitely look forward to the future for him."