By: Carter Caldwell
If you’ve been in Bellbrook for any of the past four years, chances are you’ve heard of Cody Bybee, John Sampson, and Cole Huggard. These three swimmers, who have now reached the end of their high school careers, are single handedly responsible for giving Bellbrook a name in the swimming community. Although Bellbrook was no stranger to the State Championships, coach Rob Johnson says having relays with those three swimmers on it was almost a guarantee that Bellbrook would be in attendance.
In 2015, Bellbrook sent five students to state: senior Drew Breese, sophomore Henry Wong, and freshmen John Sampson, Cody Bybee, and Cole Huggard. At the meet, Bybee placed third in both of his individuals, as well as Sampson placing fifth in the 100 backstroke. Additionally, the 200 free relay placed nineteenth, while the 400 placed tenth. Bellbrook placed tenth overall.
The following year, in 2016, Bellbrook started the meet off well with sophomore Bybee setting the state record in the 200 freestyle (1:34.55). Bybee also won the 100 fly later in the meet. Sampson placed fourth in the same event, then went on to become the state runner-up in the 100 back with a time of 50.92. Huggard placed 18 in the 200 individual medley. Both relays (400 freestyle and 200 medley) that year consisted of Bybee, Huggard, Sampson, and Wong. The 200 medley placed sixth, while the 400 freestyle placed tenth. Bellbrook placed seventh overall.
In 2017, the same team of Wong, Huggard, Bybee and Sampson went to the state meet, along with senior diver Justin Boreman. Boreman placed nineteenth with a score of 213.55. At the beginning of the meet, the 200 medley relay placed second, going a school record time of 1:35.66. At the end of the meet, the relay placed third with yet another school record time of 3:09.66. Individually, Bybee broke his own state record in the 200 free (lowering the record to 1:34.55) and also set a record in the 100 fly (46.97). Sampson placed seventh in the 100 free before winning the 100 back with a time of 49.93. Huggard placed twenty-third in the 500 freestyle and thirteenth in the 200 individual medley, swimming a 1:59.08. Bellbrook placed fourth overall at the meet.
Most recently, in 2018, the boys from Bellbrook returned to the State Championships for a fourth and final time, where they set four individual school records and Bybee lowered his own state record in the 200 free one more time. In addition to this, the boys also played a significant role in helping Bellbrook men’s team win the Southwestern Buckeye League for the first time in over a decade. The girl’s team also performed very well at SWBL, placing third overall.