Cameron ready for final trip to States Warwick, MC to send contingent of 10
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
When Emily Cameron competes this Friday and Saturday at the PIAA State Triple-A Swimming Championships, it will mark the end of an era for Warwick.
Her accolades have been many during her four-year high school career, and she is hoping to add to those in her final trip to Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.
The Warwick senior is seeded second in both the 200 I.M. (2:02.28) and 100 breaststroke (1:03.36). Pine Richland senior Kristen Murslack is the No. 1 seed in both events, just a fraction ahead of Cameron in 2:01.99 and 1:02.68, respectively.
The swimming fan in Warwick coach Mark Daum will come out as he observes everything unfold from the pool-side. Asked if he was looking forward to watching one of those events more than the other, Daum said with a laugh, "With her, it’s just fun to watch. I’m in the backseat of the car just having a good time. The 100 is sort of a splash and dash, it’s a sprint, and the 200 is a little more strategy. But again, (Cameron and Murslack) are both breaststroke. So they’re going strength against strength in the Individual Medley."
Those races could bring back memories from Cameron’s sophomore year. In 2011, she went into States seeded third in the 100 free in 50.55 seconds behind Hershey’s Meaghan Raab and Downingtown East’s Danielle Siverling. It turned out to be one of the few races in her high school career that she didn’t win gold.
Daum, though, offers some advice for on-lookers at Bucknell this weekend.
"Watching Emily over the last four years, win or lose … the 100 free race her sophomore year was a knock-down, drag-out to the wire, so I think it would be prudent that nobody bets against her," Daum said. "She’s second seed, but just like at Districts, her fifth seed in the breaststroke was a bit of a misnomer. She has the experience on the high school level, the national level, even the international level."
When she set the current State record of 1:57.74 in the 200 I.M. in her sophomore year, en route to capturing her second career gold in that event, Cameron had a seed time of 2:02.01. That is just 27-hundredths of a second faster than her current seed time of 2:02.28 going into Friday’s action, with the Triple-A girls finals slated for 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Asked if he would be surprised to see Cameron break her own mark in that event, Daum said, "At this point in her career, nothing surprises me with her. I mean, it’s out there. It’s going to take a great swim. Is Emily capable of it? Absolutely. She’s going to have to drop a good five seconds or something like that to do it, But we’ve learned, nothing is out of the realm of possibility with her."
Cameron is also the State record-holder in the 100 breaststroke with her time of 1:00.54, which she set last year while winning her second-ever PIAA gold medal in that event.
After winning the District gold medal in the 100 breaststroke two weeks ago, she hinted at possibly aiming to break the 1:00 barrier at Bucknell University. Time will tell when that race is held during Triple-A girls finals on Saturday from 5:45 to 7:15 p.m.
"It’s the same two kids and it’s deja vu again," Daum said of Cameron and Murslack. "I mean, Murslack is obviously an outstanding swimmer, so as we’ve watched time and time again, that’s what Emily thrives on. It’s going to be a good race … Districts is a stepping stone. This is her meet and add the emotion that this is her last high school meet."
First-year State qualifiers Emily Griest, Brianna Olivieri and Emily Wyand will probably feel a lot of emotion as well as they compete as part of two relays. The foursome of Cameron, Morgan Haney, Olivieri, and Maddie Schouten will swim with the 15th-seeded 200 medley relay (1:49.14) during Friday’s action. Prelims are 8 to 9:30 a.m.
The top eight finishers advance to the championship finals, while the ninth through 16th-place finishers go to the consi finals. The eighth-place seeded West Chester East team brings a time of 1:47.97 into the event.
Saturday’s action will see the foursome of Cameron, Griest, Haney and Wyand compete on the 14th-seeded 400 free relay (3:34.00). Prelim times are 8 to 9:30 a.m. and Upper St. Clair is the eighth-seeded team in 3:32.08.
"The relays have got to put it all together," Daum said. "The times you see are so tightly packed. If anybody on any team has a bad day, a bad turn, a bad finish, it’s a tenth of a second, hundredths of a second. I think a realistic goal for those two relays is to make it back in the top 16 and go shoot for consolation final."
Are the championship finals out of reach?
"Who knows? They never cease to amaze and surprise," Daum said. "We’ll see. We’re going with three rookies. I mean, this is Emily Griest, Emily Wyand and Brianna Olivieri’s first trip up there. And it’s rather pressure-packed. They handled Districts very well, but again it’s a different stage. So we’ll see. "
Haney is also seeded 11th in Friday’s 50 freestyle in 24.00 seconds and 23rd in Saturday’s 100 freestyle in 52.62 seconds. Last year, she would have been seeded 13th in the 100 freestyle with that time.
"The District Meets were so fast this year just to make it," Daum said. "So you don’t know how many of these other kids put it all into Districts and there’s going to be a little bit of a bounce backwards. You just don’t know."
Manheim Central senior Paige Daniel is seeded fifth in the girls Triple-A 500 free in 5:00.04, set for Saturday, and eighth in the 200 free in 1:52.49, slated for Friday.
On the boys side, Warwick junior Justin Mitchell is headed to States for the second straight year with the 14th seed in Friday’s 200 freestyle (1:43.05) and the 15th-seed in Saturday’s 500 freestyle (4:41.06).
"Last year, Justin made it back in the 500 but again the times are just super fast," Daum said. "I think again a realistic goal is if he can make it back into the finals. He had such great drops at Districts, you can’t keep dropping and dropping and dropping. So we’ll see. He’s been there, he has that experience. That’s a plus."
Mitchell will be joined in the boys events by junior Nick Beard, who is seeded 29th in the 100 breaststroke in 59.68 seconds in his first-ever trip to States. That’s just a fraction behind West Chester Henderson’s Thomas McCormick, who has the 16th seed in 58.86 seconds. Unfortunately, Beard injured his ankle at home last weekend, but the Warriors are crossing their fingers that he will be ready to go.
"It does feel better," Daum said, "but of all strokes, in the breaststroke, you’ve got to turn your feet out and if you’ve got a sprained ankle, that’s not exactly where your ankle wants to go. So we’re just going to hold our breath that he’s mended up by Saturday."
In the Double-A Boys Championships, Manheim Central freshman Matthew Daniel is seeded 24th in Wednesday’s 200 I.M. in 2:04.22 and eighth in Thursday’s 500 freestyle in 4:47.78. Prelims on both days are 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., with Wednesday’s finals set for 8 to 9:30 p.m. and Thursday’s finals to be held from 8;15 to 9:45 p.m. More SWIMMING, page B-4