The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

Success Found: HHS Swim Team

Luke Deegan
NKAC Boy’s Swimmer Of The Year-Griffin Barlow.

As the 2023-24 regular swim season comes to an end, the Highlands Swim Team has swept away the competition with numerous wins in events and meets. Highlands swimmers’ Griffin Barlow (11) and Clare Herfel (8) won NKAC Swimmer Of The Year this past weekend.

Highlands’s Swim Team has shown a strong stance against other teams this season, winning almost every meet they attended, with the help of new swim coach, Kevin Kampschmidt. Kampschmidt is a University of Cincinnati Alumni, with over 20 years of experience, bringing a lot to the table this year for the team.

Junior Griffin Barlow said that he thinks Coach Kampschmidt has done a great job as coach this year. “Our team feels more connected than ever before. I think this is likely due to the encouragement to attend high school meets this season.”  

The team has seen tremendous growth and success this season with 17 out of 22 events won in their conference meet this weekend. This includes the 17 events won in total, the team won both boy and girl Swimmer Of The Year for Region 7 as well. With over 300 swimmers in Northern Kentucky, both swimmers of the year were from Highlands.

Clare Herfel is a swimmer for the Northern Kentucky Clippers. She is in the pool 18+ hours a week, getting up before 5 am on some school days to go to practice. Herfel said: “I feel very good to win NKAC girl Swimmer Of The Year.”

Barlow is a swimmer for the Cincinnati Marlins. He is in the pool all the time, constantly striving to become better.

Barlow said: “I am honored to win the Swimmer Of The Year award and look forward to helping this program do great things in my last two years.”

The boys team has been led by junior Griffin Barlow, freshmen Chanith Abeysinghe and Luke Deegan, and sophomores Charlie Herfel and Noah Gracey.

Barlow said: “I think we looked very good at the conference meet this past weekend, and the energy was electric.”

The boys have consistently won every meet, and almost every event. There is a very wide range of swimmers this season, helping the team do better in more events. 

The girls team is led by junior Sarah Jones, sophomore Ragan Moore, eighth grader Clare Herfel, and freshman Keria Kobida.

Clare Herfel said: “I think the team is doing really good this season, and we have a really well rounded team.”

The girls team has placed top 3 at each meet with a medley relay that consistently wins, with swimmers that win or podium in each event. 

The Highlands team is going into regionals this weekend, going up against 18 other teams including: Ryle, Notre Dame, and Covington Catholic. 

Barlow said:”I think our team has a huge upside at regionals. There will definitely be some tough competition however, I think a top 3 combined finish is very plausible.” 

Highlands has been the only team in the region to show their top relay to the other teams this season. Other teams have been hiding their relays, waiting for regionals to show them. The team has a lot of goals for these upcoming postseason meets.

Coach Kampschmidt said: “I am expecting to advance 6 relays to state,I am also expecting to advance many individuals to Regional Finals, the Opening Round of State, and State. Kampschmidt said that the ultimate goal is to advance as many swimmers as possible to those meets. “It would be great to finish in the top 5 in the state, but I expect to finish in the top 10.”

The Highlands swim team has a lot of pressure going into postseason meets this weekend. The birds are hoping to finish top 3 in combined points against the other 18 teams in the region.  The relays are working on making it to the first round of state and beat the competition.

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