Ferry swimmers shine in own invite

MARTINS FERRY — Jarrett Bolinger, Kayla Fogle and Sarah Heilman have been the backbone for coach Nicholas Levi’s squad for some time now. On Saturday, the trio combined to go 15-0 in individual events at the William Grammer Pool as they paced the Martins Ferry Aquatic Club in winning its own invitational for the fifth consecutive year — and it wasn’t close.

Martins Ferry accumulated 1,030 points — 806 points better than runnerup Avonworth, which finished with 224. Thompson Park was third at 219 and Marshall County took fourth with 156.

Bolinger took home High Point honors in the Boys 18 and Over Division with 35 points, while Fogle and Heilman tied with 35 points to each earn High Point honors in the Girls 18 and Over Division.

Bolinger set an invite record in the 50 meter butterfly with a time of 30.25. He also took first in the 200 (2:21.42), 100 (59.56), 50 (26.61) and the 50 breaststroke (34.22).

Fogle secured victories in the 200 (2:35.28), 100 IM (1:19.14), 200 IM (2:50.22), 50 breaststroke (40.93) and 100 breaststroke (1:28.83), while Heilman emerged victorious in the 100 (1:08.15), 50 backstroke (34.58), 100 backstroke (1:22.16), 50 butterfly (33.49) and the 100 butterfly (1:18.86).

Along with their outstanding skills in the pool, what has propelled the championship trio and the rest of the Martins Ferry Aquatic Club to the top of the pack is the team’s work ethic.

“We’ve been doing weights in the summer and our summer training program has really been utilizing that,” Levi said. “Some of these kids lift weights before practice and that training in the offseason gets you better for the regular season, too.

“Anytime you can work in the offseason on your weaknesses or continue to improve on your strengths, it’s always a good thing. Putting in that extra time is a big help, which you’ll see when February comes around.”

Another trio in the 13-14 age group spearheaded the Martins Ferry Aquatic Club. Abby Heilman won titles in the 100 (1:14.52), 200 (2:34.80), 50 breaststroke (40.59), 100 breaststroke (1:30.04) and the 200 IM (2:57.41); Anna Norman broke meet records in the 50 with a 31.02 mark and the 100 IM (1:18.99) and won the 50 backstroke (36.41), 50 butterfly (34.41) and the 100 butterfly (1:23.82).

Both Norman and Abby Heilman tied for the High Point Award in their age group with 35 points.

Matthew Collette paced the boys with wins in the 50 (30.56), 100 (1:12.71), 100 IM (1:21.94) and the 100 breaststroke (1:24.94), while setting a new record in the 50 breaststroke (36.31).

Collette was also a High Point winner with 35.

Martins Ferry’s Nathan La Magna paced the boys in the 11-12 age group with victories in the 50 (34.67), 100 (1:24.81), 50 butterfly (44.24), 50 breaststroke (47.52) and the 100 IM (1:33.95), while winning the High Point Award with 35.

Martins Ferry’s depth proved to be a factor, as well.

“This is the largest team we’ve had in nine years,” Levi said. “Over 80 swimmers came out (Saturday). Usually, we average between 50 and 60. It’s good to see kids come out to swim and enjoy a nice sunny day. Last year it was raining.

“Another fun part of swimming is hanging out with friends during dead time. The kids always enjoy that.”

The kids weren’t the only ones having fun. Levi took over coaching the 10 and Under kids for the first time in many years, which made for an interesting but fun day at the pool.

“I haven’t coached 10 and Under since 2004,” Levi said. “This year I am and I am having a lot of fun. There are a lot of numbers and it’s re-energizing as a coach.

“They are part of the future and it’s nice to see them swim different events. A ton of them swam the butterfly (Saturday) for the first time. I asked them if they were ready and they were all excited to do it.”