Girls swim team has the weapons to make run at state title

Joey Deaton | Staff Writer

The Mason girls swimming team does not know the meaning of rebuilding year.

For the Comets, each and every season brings up fresh talent that helps the team compete for state titles. The team, which has finished second in the state the past two years, is once again poised to make a run for the title.

Although the girls graduated the likes of Ashley Volpenhein, the All-American, 7-time state champ who now swims at Stanford University, the Comets opened up their 2018 campaign with a huge win over 2-time defending state champs Upper Arlington. Mason not only won the dual meet by a score of 123-60, but was victorious in each and every swimming event.

Senior Allison Bloebaum, who is the defending state champion in both the 200 and 500 meter freestyles, said that Upper Arlington is not as strong as they were a year ago, but the level of dominance the Comets displayed did come as a bit of a surprise.

“I don’t think necessarily it was a surprise,” Bloebaum said. “We knew they were holding back one girl who is going to be very dominant, but I don’t think any of us were expecting to win all of the swimming events.”

Mason also placed first at the Southwest Ohio Classic on January 13 out of 39 girls teams, winning with 515 points over Cincinnati St. Ursula’s 311 in second place.

Bloebaum said this was a perfect way to start the year, but it does not guarantee a return to state.

“It gives us a huge boost of confidence and a lot to look forward to for state, but we’re not counting anybody out,” Bloebaum said. “Last year we also beat Upper Arlington, but we did not win the state title, so (Coach Mark) Sullivan’s really been harping on us like, ‘Just because we beat Upper Arlington doesn’t mean we won state’. We still have six more weeks until we can do that. I think that we bode, well but we’re not counting anybody out.”

The Comets have a strong freshman class, including the likes of Emma Dalton, who said the Comets can continue to improve through practice and hard work over the course of the season.

“I think this team has a lot of potential,” Dalton said. “I think we could definitely win state. We just have a lot of really good swimmers and every single class from seniors down to freshmen will be really good this year. We have a lot of practices but working your hardest in every single one can get us there. I think we already have a really good team, and we could be really great.”

The class of 2021 also gives the Comets the Anchrum and

the Lugbill twins, as well a massive amount of other underclassmen that contribute to the varsity team. Bloebaum said  Mason girls swimming will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

“What this says about our depth is that we have rising talent always coming up,” Bloebaum said. “The Lugbill twins actually moved to Mason this past summer, so we were lucky enough to get them. To have them on our team, along with the Anchrum twins, they’re going to be a huge asset to us. Just with Leanna (Wall), Harna (Minezawa), and McKenzie (Grau), all of those juniors we have, it shows how good we’re still going to be even when Ashley and me and (senior) Lauren Thomas are gone. We’re still going to be a powerhouse in the next three to four years, and I’m excited for the future of Mason swimming even though I won’t be in it.”