MHS swimmers entering peak of their campaign

The Marietta High swimmers are entering a crucial point of their season this week as they travel to Coshocton Friday for the East Central Ohio League meet and return home Monday for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational.

The Tigers are coming off a strong showing Saturday at Parkersburg South in the Patriots Invitational, as the girls team placed third overall while the boys finished fourth.

Several impressive individual performances paced Marietta. Cooper Halliday, a long distance swimmer, won the 500 Freestyle with a time of 5 minutes, 49.09 seconds and also finished second in the 200 Freestyle (2:11.96) for the girls.

Lucia Picciano took home a second place finish in the 100 Butterfly (1:16.24) and placed third in the 100 Breaststroke (1:21.95.), while Haley Varnadoe finished second in the 500 Freestyle (6:25.42) and third in the 200 Individual Medley (2:42.51.)

On the boys side, Nathan McVicar collected third place finishes in the 200 Freestyle (2:06.91) and the 100 Butterfly (1:07.47.) McVicar was also a part of two relay teams that notched fourth place finishes, joined by Austin Hefter, Joel Bricker and Jack Halliday in the 200 Free Relay (1:50.90) and Halliday, Zach Robinson and Matt Fitzgerald in the 400 Free Relay (4:12.60.)

Overall, the girls team features 15 swimmers while the boys team has 12.

“We’re a very young team with a lot of young swimmers and only a few veterans,” said first-year head coach Courtenay Halliday.

Coach Halliday explained that in spite of her team’s youth, Marietta has been able stay competitive.

“We are a young, inexperienced team that is swimming strong and keeping up with other teams that are larger and have more established programs,” she said.

With sectional and district tournaments approaching, the Tigers are “at the peak of our workouts right now,” Halliday said, hoping to bring down some times.

Marietta will look to capture the ECOL title Friday at 4 p.m. in Coshocton, then will welcome in six opposing teams to the Marietta YMCA Monday for the MLK Invite. Warmups are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. with the meet starting at noon.

NOTES: Competing in the MLK Invite, along with Marietta, will be Williamstown, New Philadelphia, Rosecrans, John Glenn, Philo and Watkins Memorial. … Halliday is assisted by longtime swimming head coach Walt Teer. … On Dec. 7, the Marietta girls placed fourth out of 12 teams and the boys finished seventh out of 10 teams at the Dover Invitational. … On Dec. 14, the Lady Tigers again finished fourth out of 12 teams in the River View Invite while the boys team was seventh out of 12.