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State champ … again Cyber school key to training But Cameron hopes to return to WHS for senior year
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
For Warwick star swimmer Emily Cameron, her junior year has had a lot of trade-offs.
On one hand, having gone the cyber school route in 2011-12, she has taken advantage of the flexible schedule to train harder and get herself physically stronger.
The price for that, however, is that Cameron has missed out on a lot socially with her friends at Warwick High School.
"It definitely had a lot to do with swimming," Cameron said of her decision to be cyber-schooled this year, "because I’m a very social person, so I like to be involved with everyone and it definitely was a big step going from public school to cyber school. I’m literally at home all day long (and) I haven’t seen my friends in a really long time."
That big step contributed to big results last Wednesday and Thursday, March 14 and 15, during the PIAA State Triple-A Swimming Championships at Bucknell University. In addition to setting two new PIAA records, Cameron also came home with her fourth and fifth career State gold medals, touching the wall first in the 50 freestyle in 22.75 seconds and first in the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.54.
"I can’t stop smiling," Cameron said in Kinney Natatorium. "It’s awesome. I haven’t gone best time in that event (100 breast) in two years. So to go two seconds faster than my best time, I’m speechless."
Two years ago, Cameron was still in public school at Warwick. Even last year, as a sophomore, she was taking classes at 301 W. Orange St.
It made for a hectic lifestyle when she had two-a-day swim practices with her club team, the Lancaster Aquatic Club at Phoenix Academy in Lancaster. Her alarm clock would ring at 5 a.m. and she would practice from 5:30 to 7, race home, get to school and then do another practice in the evening.
This year, while participating in those two-a-days from November to February on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she at least knew that she could get home for a quick nap before diving into her school work. Eventually, her two-a-days became only twice a week, and now it is just one daily practice.
"When I have double practices on certain days of the week, I’ll go to practice and then come home; and while most kids go to school and they’re dead tired, I get to come home and sleep, which is definitely a nice aspect of it," said Cameron, who will be competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials from June 25 through July 2 in Omaha, Neb.
Another nice aspect is that she has been able to join a couple of classes during the day at the Lititz recCenter, including spin classes, yoga classes and training with fitness director Simon Ababou. The benefits have been unquestioned in developing her into a stronger swimmer.
"It definitely has paid off because I’ve gotten a lot more stronger over the past few months," she added, "and it’s probably just because of all the training that I’ve been doing."
Prior to making the move toward cyber school, Cameron talked with her Warwick friends about it and they backed her decision.
"They were all really surprised when I told them," she said, "but I think they supported me and stuff."
Cameron also had a conversation or two about it with her friend Amber McDermott, who is currently a freshman on the University of Georgia women’s swim team.
"(Amber) was cyber schooled for her last three years of high school and she was telling me all about it and how much more time she had to train and she even became a better swimmer over the past few years when she was cyber schooled," Cameron said. "So I kinda took that and I was like, ‘Maybe if I try this, it will help me,’ and it definitely did."
Despite her extra training, though, she hasn’t slacked off in her education. While staying on top of her online lessons, Cameron believes that her grades have actually improved a bit. She was trying to work ahead prior to this week, when she will be gone from Monday through Sunday, March 18-24 in Orlando, Fla. to compete in the National Club Swimming Association Junior Nationals.
While some might say that there are distractions at home with television, video games and other technological devices, Cameron argues that there are less diversions.
"I don’t really watch TV that often because it kinda bores me," she said, "but I normally work with music on and I’m completely fine. In my mind, it seems like there’s a lot less wasted time because (at public school) you have to switch classes, you have lunch, and everything is kind of on your own schedule here (with cyber school). Yes, if you are a procrastinator, which sometimes I am — I’m not going to lie — but being a swimmer, we are very disciplined and we know when we need to get our work done."
While disciplined is one word that describes Cameron, social is another. As such, she admits that she is leaning toward returning to the Warwick High School halls next year.
"I think it’s just the little stuff that happens in school that adds up after awhile and you just kinda miss out on all that good stuff and I don’t like that," she said. "I’d rather be there to see it happen, so that’s why I’m most likely going back." More CAMERON, page A7