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DiBetta, Marody captain All-TL swim team

The majority of the prep swim season was like nothing seen before.

Facilities and meets were of the premium because of the ongoing pandemic, but the performances by area athletes were still impressive.

The annual All Times Leader swim team features 18 of the area’s premier competitors. The team is chosen by the T-L Sports staff with the help of area coaches.

Leading the squad are co-captains Casadie DiBetta and Maggie Marody. The St. Clairsville duo both finished as All-Ohioans in multiple individual events at last month’s OHSAA State Swimming Championship.

Here’s a capsule look at the honorees:

CASADIE DIBETTA, St. Clairsville — This junior put forth another season to remember in helping the Red Devils finish eighth in the Division II state meet with 83 points.

DiBetta placed third in the 100 yard breaststroke at the state meet and fifth in the 200 IM. She was part of the sixth-place medley relay and ninth-place 400 free relay. She was the district champion in her two individual events and was part of four records.

“Casadie is a joy to watch swim, and sometimes I find myself just watching instead of critiquing her event,” St. C. Head coach Ernie Banks said. “Casadie doesn’t have a weak stroke or event. She is just so strong in the water and make it look effortless.”

MAGGIE MARODY, St. Clairsville — This senior and Division I signee enjoyed yet another brilliant campaign in writing a portion of Belmont County swim history.

The Niagara University signee became the first female from the county to compete in four consecutive state meets. She didn’t just compete, she earned All-Ohio in three events, helping the Red Devils place eighth in the team standings. She was the district runner-up in both the 200 and 500 freestyles. She was part of the 400 free relay, which scored in the state meet, too.

“Maggie came into this season stronger than I have seen since here freshman year,” Banks said. “Her years of training really paid off and it showed as the season progressed. We’ll miss her drive and constant push to better herself next year, but look forward to watching her compete (in college).”

KYLIE MCKEEGAN, St. Clairsville — This freestyle speedster made her junior season one to remember by qualifying to the state meet as an individual for the first time.

McKeegan was the district runner-up in the 50 free, qualifying to Canton. She was also part of the medley relay which placed sixth for the second straight season. She was on the All-Ohio 400 free relay and was 23rd at the state in the 50.

“Kylie focused on her sprints this year and just missed breaking the school record in both,” Banks said. “She has become so strong in her events and I don’t see her letting off anytime soon.”

OLIVIA MOYER, St. Clairsville — This junior made it two consecutive seasons as an individual state qualifier and once again finished as an All-Ohioan on a relay.

Moyer qualified in the 100 butterfly to the state meet. She was fourth in the event at the district and fifth in the 100 backstroke. She was also part of the medley relay that medaled in Canton.

“Olivia’s attention to detail and self-critique of her stroke is second to none,” Banks said. “She’s a true student of the sport who constantly strives for perfect technique in order to become even better.”

BRENNA PLANEY, St. Clairsville — This junior dandy is one of the most versatile Red Devil swimmers and wants nothing more than to help the team succeed.

Planey was part of the All-Ohio medley and 400 free relay teams. She was also an individual scorer in the district in the 200 and 100 freestyles.

“Brenna is the consummate team player,” Banks said. “Her real strength comes from what she will do for the team over individual credit. She always finds a way to make the group around her better than they were before.”

NATE YOST, St. Clairsville — This senior was one of the key cogs in the success of the Red Devil boys this winter.

Yost advanced to the district in the 100 fly and 100 backstroke, scoring in both and medaling in the fly. He was also part of the 400 free relay which medaled. He broke a pair of St. C. School records, including a 100 fly mark that had stood for 20 years.

“Nate is truly a great competitor,” Banks said. “He has no idea how much we will miss him next year. He will never accept he can’t do better each and every swim of each and every day. We can’t wait to watch him swim at Wheeling University next year.”

EVAN YOST, St. Clairsville — This talented freshman set the tone for what could be a most memorable prep career.

Yost advanced to the district in both the 200 free and 100 backstroke after he finished third in both races at the sectional. He was ninth in the back in the district and 15th in 200 free. He was also part of both the medley and 400 relay which scored.

“Evan had a great year,” Banks said. “He got stronger every meet and never faltered. I don’t see that changing any time soon either.”

JACK GASBER, St. Clairsville — This Red Devil standout had an impressive campaign in many events for Banks’ team.

Gasber was the sectional champion in the 100 breaststroke and finished third at the district, narrowly missing qualifying to the state meet. He was also a district scorer in the 200 free and on both relays.

“Jack continues to make giant strides every year,” Banks said. “He has studied each and every nuance of his technique. I believe he will get to the state meet next year.”

BRENDAN MILLER, St. Clairsville — This Red Devil standout was impressive all season for Banks and company.

Miller shined in the 100 breaststroke and 200 freestyle, qualifying to the district in the breaststroke. He was also a key cog on the medley relay and 400 relay, which finished 10th and eighth, respectively at the district.

“Brendan gets physically stronger every year and it shows in the pool,” Banks said. “He is normally very quiet, but that just hides an inner-intensity and drive that we’ve all come to know. I see some big time drops coming from Brendan next season.”

TRISTEN BLATT, Martins Ferry — This Purple Rider capped a strong four-year career by qualifying to the district once again.

Swimming primarily in the 200 and 500 freestyles as an individual, Blatt won the Buckeye 8 in the longer race and finished second in the shorter distance.

He also scored in both events at the Ohio Valley Swim Invite and scored as part of the 400 free relay at the district.

“Tristen continued to build on his swimming legacy by having another stellar season,” Ferry head coach Nick Levi said. “He was a big part of the boys team success and he scored a lot of points for us. He stepped up and became a leader for us. He was a pleasure to coach and will be greatly missed.”

MATT COLLETTE, Martins Ferry — This sophomore took another step forward in his swim maturation and put forth an impressive campaign for the Riders.

Focusing primarily on the 100 breast, 100 fly and 200 IM as an individual, Collette was a district placer in both the 100 breast and 400 free relay. He was sixth in the breast at the sectional.

“Matt continued to build on his freshman year as he led the team in dual meet victories and was a big part of our dual meet success,” Levi said. “Matt worked hard this season and has put himself in great position going forward in his swim career. As he continues to work on his craft, the sky will be the limit for Matt. I am very excited for Matt’s junior year.”

WYATT WODARCYK, Martins Ferry — This senior put the finishing touches on an impressive four-year career for the Purple Riders.

He was a standout in the 200 and 500 freestyles as well as on three relays for Coach Levi’s squad. The 400 relay team scored in the district meet and he scored in both of his individual events at the sectional.

“Wyatt continued to build on his successful junior season. He was one of the hardest workers on the team both in the summer, the off season and during the season,” Levi said. “I am very proud of what Wyatt has been able accomplish as he went from a swimmer with no prior swimming experience his freshman year to a 3x district qualifier. Wyatt was a pleasure to coach and he will be missed.”

LILLY MASTERS, Martins Ferry — This sophomore continued to make steady progress as part of the Purple Rider swim squad.

She focused on the 50, 100 and 200 freestyles as well as the 100 backstroke, while also serving as a key leg on three relay teams. She qualified to the district as part of the 400 freestyle. She scored in the Buckeye 8 and Ohio Valley Swim Invite in a pair of individual events as well as the 100 free at the sectional.

“Lilly bursted on to the swim scene this year. Lilly has only swam competitively for a little over a year (joined the swim team in Dec 2019),” Levi said. “Not only did she expand her events from the sprint free but she also had success in mid distance free as well as backstroke. She was a key part to our relays this season and was our fastest swimmer on the 400 free relay.”

JOCELYNN REIHNER, Martins Ferry — This senior also had strong season despite being still relatively new to the sport.

Rechner swam the 200 and 500 freestyles as well as the 100 backstroke. She was also on three relays.

Rechner scored in the Ohio Valley Swim Invite, Buckeye 8 and the sectional in both individual and relay events. She was part of the 400 free relay, which competed in the district.

“Jocelynn’s season started out slow with a broken foot in the summer as well as missing several practices due to (COVID-19) contract tracing, but she didn’t let those get in the way of having a successful season,” Levi said. “She embraced the distance freestyle and had massive time drops in both the 200 free and 500 free where she concluded with an 7th place finish (in d2) at the sectional meet. Jocelyn was a pleasure to coach and we will miss her.”

GIA STARKEY, Martins Ferry — This sophomore took a major step forward and really burst onto the area swimming scene.

Competing in the 200 and 500 freestyles as well as the 100 backstroke, and three relays, Starkey was the Purple Riders leading scorer and placed second in the Buckeye 8 and qualified to the district in the 500.

She was sixth at the sectional in the 500 and seventh at the OV Invite.

“Gia had an incredible sophomore year. She was one of the hardest workers on the team always trying to keep up with the faster swimmers (boys) at practice,” Levi said. “Once she started to believe in her training as well as being determined to make districts individually, she took off. She was a Buckeye 8 runner up in the 500 and used that to catapult into qualifying individually to the district meet in the 500, gaining valuable experience. I am looking forward for her to build off a very successful sophomore year.”

ASHLYNN WILLIAMS, Martins Ferry — This talented sophomore was a key part of the Ferry team success by leading the squad in dual-meet individual victories.

Williams was second on the team in scoring and scored in the district meet as part of the 400 free relay. She was fifth in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke at the Buckeye 8 meet and placed 10th in the latter at the sectional. She was also a key cog on the medley relay, 400 free relay and 200 free relay.

“Ashlyn took the next step this season by pushing herself at practice. This led to several time drops including life time bests in the 100 free,” Levi said. “She set her mind to a time that she wanted to swim at the sectional meet on the 400 free relay and she hit it, dropping over 4 seconds from her prior best. Not only did she have success on relays but she ended her season at 29th in the 100 breast. I am looking forward to her building on her successful sophomore year.”

ABBY MOORE, Barnesville — This senior has been “the glue” for the Shamrock swimming team, according to head coach Bobbi Jo Johnson.

Moore is a standout in the 100 butterfly. She narrowly missed qualifying for the district, but scored in both the sectional and Ohio Valley Swimming Invite. She’s also a key leg on the Shamrock relay teams.

“As a senior this year, it became evident that Abby was a team leader,” Johnson said. 

“Abby was always assisting younger swimmers in the pool with tips and tricks to improve their swimming skills.”

CHEYENNE FILLIPOVICH, Union Local — This junior had an impressive season for the still relatively young Jets program.

Fillipovich posted four victories, six runner-up finishes, a third and four, fourth-place finishes. She scored in the 200 free and 100 fly at the Ohio Valley Swim Invitee and was fourth in the Buckeye 8 in the fly and fifth in the 200 free. Impressively, Fillipovich lowered her personal-best time each time she swam.

“Cheyenne’s dedication to the sport of swimming is inspiring,” UL head coach Dave Phillips said. “It’s truly a passion for her that drives her to constantly improve. She was able to accomplish a tremendous amount in light of the limitation presented with the pandemic. She’s in a great position heading in to her senior year.”

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