Bryan’s swimming teams have quite a bit of firepower returning, and it could lead to another historic season.

Kellen Rigg, who owns nearly every school record for Bryan’s boys team, is back for his senior year. Classmates Jackson Miller and Ara Alyanakian, who along with Rigg are all-Ohioans, return as well for the Golden Bears.

“The work ethic that they bring into practice and the attitude that they bring into practice will just help teach those younger guys so that they can be successful as well,” said Bryan coach Makenzie Luce, who enters her 18th season leading the Golden Bears. “It’s great all around.”

For the girls team, senior Katie Seaman and junior Maya Keil will look to lead the Golden Bears after qualifying for state in the 200 yard freestyle relay.

Overall, nearly two dozen letterwinners return for the Golden Bears. Several incoming freshmen could make an immediate impact as well, according to Luce.

For the Golden Bears, it all starts with Rigg.

A multiple-time Division II all-Ohioan over the past two seasons, Rigg holds seven individual school records and is part of three of the top Bryan relay teams as well.

Last season, Rigg earned first-team all-Ohio in the 200 freestyle (sixth in 1:41.72) and 500 freestyle (eighth in 4:44.69) and joined Miller, Alyanakian and 2021 Bryan graduate Collin Barrow-Whetro in notching second-team all-Ohio recognition in the 200 freestyle relay (11th in 1:30.34).

Rigg and Miller, who competed on Napoleon High School’s water polo team in the spring and fall, are already in excellent swimming shape to start the season, according to Luce.

“Last spring, they decided to try water polo and loved it and kept going with it this (fall),” Luce said. “So swimming shape, they’re ready to go and they’ve already had some practices that prove they’re ready to go.”

Meanwhile, Seaman and Keil joined 2021 Bryan graduates Addie Oberlin and Lauren Wityk in finishing 23rd at state in the 200 freestyle relay.

For the boys team, Griffin Davis, Gideon Mejia and Cole Pittman lettered last season. Emilee Bassett, Aqualina Cordic, Sam Doty, Tristyn Durdel, Sydney Grieser, Isabella Holbrook, Morgan Koenig, Paige Kunsman, Lauren Lambert, Ava Moore, Mara Simmons, Hailey Wallace and Allee Zigler have experience as well for Bryan’s girls team.

For the Golden Bears, keeping the tradition of sending multiple swimmers to the state meet is something they want to continue this year.

“They absolutely do and it’s something the kids start talking about right away,” Luce said. “We constantly remind them that you can’t put the cart before the horse, that you’ve got to put in the time, you’ve got to put in the work and that’s when good things happen.

“That’s why we’ve been successful. That was our opening statement to the kids when we started practice a couple weeks ago. We’re like ‘we’re good because we put in the work. Let’s continue that.’”

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