Cameron makes winning a routine
Talking Sports By
Bruce Morgan Let’s imagine that Warwick senior Emily Cameron goes to the PIAA State Triple-A Swimming Championships next Friday and Saturday, March 15-16 at Bucknell University and wins gold medals in the 200 Individual Medley and 100 breaststroke.
And honestly, would you be surprised in the least if she did do that?
But if Cameron does, in fact, achieve that feat, it will open the door for a pretty cool trivia question years from now.
Question: In Cameron’s four years of competing at States, name the only girl who outraced her for an individual gold medal.
Answer: Hershey’s Meaghan Raab in 2011.
And if you add that Raab did it in the 100 freestyle, you get extra credit.
That loss to Raab happened during Cameron’s sophomore year, just 12 months after she won two golds in the 200 I.M. and 100 breaststroke in her freshman season. Now, as Cameron prepares for her final PIAA Meet, her State medal collection includes five golds and one bronze in individual competition, along with an eighth-place medal in the 200 freestyle relay.
For all of the medals that have been placed around her neck and the records that have fallen at her hands, however, there is something else that might better define her domination in the pool during her high school days at Warwick.
You expect her to win. It’s become routine.
Think about it. There is no higher achievement for a high school athlete than to win a State gold and she’s made it look easy.
Last Friday and Saturday at the District Three Triple-A Championships, nobody was surprised that she won two more gold there. In the days leading up to Districts, though, what had people talking was that Cameron was seeded fifth in the 100 breaststroke.
Fifth? That was so un-Cameron like. You could almost hear people asking, ‘What is wrong with her? Why isn’t her time better?’
She has set the bar so high that it only becomes news when she doesn’t win or when she doesn’t claim the No. 1 or No. 2 seed going into a post-season championship meet.
For comparison’s sake, from 1991-2005, the Atlanta Braves won 14 straight division titles, and it got to the point where they weren’t even selling out their stadium anymore. It became commonplace and routine. But heavy is the head that wears the crown, and when you’re on top, there are people rooting for you to stumble and relinquish that title.
I can honestly say, though, that I haven’t heard of anyone rooting for Cameron to fail. And I have a pretty good idea why.
There is no ego in Cameron.
I have heard stories, both off the record and on, about how she has gone out of her way to be a team player. Lancaster Intell/New Era sports writer Pete Kauffman and I chuckle with one another about how she brightens up when talking about a relay that she swims with, and how she seems to enjoy winning as part of a foursome more so than individually.
There are plenty of other examples. Perhaps the freshest memory I have, because it’s the most recent, is watching her at the end of the pool for the boys 500 freestyle at Districts last Saturday, kneeling to dip the number cards into the water as the Warwick swimmers approached to alert them to how many laps they had completed.
Somebody had to do it, and certainly, Cameron wasn’t the only one who did so for the Warriors. But someone in her shoes could have easily sat, relaxed and cheered from the comforts of the seats — or even gone home, since her events were finished at that point.
To me, it was another indication that she is just one of the kids. One of the many pulling on the rope for the good of the team. And doing so without a trace of ego.
Here’s another trivia question for you.
Who has gold-medal character to match the number of golds she has won in swimming?
Answer: Emily Cameron. More ROUTINE, page B-5