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Confident Cameron cashes in at Districts Warwick wins nine medals, as Beard, girls 200 medley relay shatter records DISTRICT THREE AAA SWIM CHAMPIONSHIPS (at Cumberland Valley) BOYS GIRLS
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
As Warwick junior Emily Cameron climbed out of the pool on Saturday, she greeted coach Mark Daum with four cheerful words.
"My breaststroke is back."
For the past couple of years, it was a struggle for Cameron in that event.
But at the District Three Triple-A Swimming Championships, the competition was struggling to keep pace with her.
While shaving nearly three seconds off her seed time in the 100 breaststroke, Cameron captured her fifth-ever District gold medal — and second of the weekend — in 1:02.34 at Cumberland Valley High School.
Wilson senior Kylie Reiter was the next closest finisher, more than four seconds behind, in a time of 1:06.38.
"I am very, very happy with my race," Cameron said. "I haven’t been feeling very good with my breaststroke in the past two years probably, and the fact that I just went a 1:02.3 now at Districts and I only went (1:02.31) at States my freshman year is a huge, huge accomplishment for me."
Cameron also took home gold in the 50 free on Friday night in 23.19 seconds, leading a Warwick haul in which the boys and girls combined to win nine medals. The highlights included a school-record performance by the bronze-medal winning girls 200 medley relay foursome of Maddie Schouten, Morgan Haney, Tara Freeman and Cameron in 1:48.69, and a school record by Nick Beard in the boys 100 breastroke in 1:01.63.
Team-wise, the Warwick girls were fourth with 157.5 points, just behind L-L rival Manheim Township (166), and the boys, with Justin Mitchell clinching fifth-place medals in the 500 free and 200 free, grabbed an eighth-place finish with 93 points.
"The Township kids swam great," Daum said. "If they wouldn’t have swam that good, we would’ve got third, so we both swam great and let the chips fall where they may."
The chips fell right for Cameron, who got a sense in warm-ups on Saturday that she was back to her old self in the 100 breaststroke.
"When I got in the water today, I was like, ‘I’m actually feeling really good right now,’" Cameron said. "So I was really excited to see what it would bring out and I’m happy with the outcome of it."
Cameron (1:05.32) and Reiter (1:07.03) were separated by less than two seconds in their seed times, but the Warwick junior took control from the outset while touching the wall in 29.32 seconds at the 50.
Reiter was third at that point in 31.08, only a fraction behind Hershey’s Vivian Tafuto (31.05), but then Cameron pulled away from both swimmers the rest of the way.
"I’ve definitely been feeling a lot better in practice when we’ve done sets in breaststroke … and when I got in there, everything just kinda flowed and that’s a key thing in breaststroke," Cameron said. "Everything needs to flow together and when it does, it clicks."
"It’s an oxymoron, Emily and confidence, but I think she lost a little bit of her confidence in that event because the first thing she said coming back out when she was done was, ‘I got it back,’" Daum said. "And you could tell it, the way she swam, there was confidence there, her stroke looked good and it was virtually uncontested."
As extra motivation for Cameron, Pine Richland junior Kristen Murslack swam a 29 split in the District Seven Championships on her way to setting a new WPIAL record of 1:02.68.
"I saw that (Murslack) went out in 29, so I was like, ‘I’ve got to get out fast if I want to go attack this race,’" Cameron remarked. "So when I heard I went out in a 29, that’s exactly where I wanted to be."
"Emily knew there was something out there and that’s all she needs," Daum said. "It’s the bull with the red flag. It’s there and (she says), ‘OK, now I know what I’m going to go get.’ What was the closest kid today? Four seconds? So she wasn’t really pushed and she did that kind of swim, so she’s good to go."
Looking ahead to the State Triple-A Meet, which is slated for next Wednesday and Thursday, March 14-15 at Bucknell University, Cameron (1:02.34) and Murslack (1:02.68) are the top two seeds in the 100 breaststroke, with Greater Latrobe sophomore Kayla Owens third at 1:05.03. Cameron won the State gold in that event as a freshman in 1:02.31.
"We’re friends," Cameron said of Murslack, "and we’re always talking about how good the race is going to be, so I’m real excited to see what happens when it comes to States. She’s a big competitor … I’d like to go 1:00. My friend Katie (Zell, of Ephrata) is always saying, ‘Go under a minute,’ and I’m like, ‘That’s pushing it for 100 breastroke.’ Going under a minute is a huge barrier to break."
Cameron and her 200 medley relay teammates, though, broke a significant barrier on Friday, dropping 1.55 seconds from the school record time of 1:50.24 that they swam at the L-L Championships while taking the silver medal in 1:48.69 behind only Wilson (1:46.69). Hershey won the bronze in 1:48.82.
"(Maddie Schouten) was on (Friday) night. Tara Freeman continues to just amaze in that butterfly leg. A second and a half was pretty surprising," Daum acknowledged. "And for the first time in how many years, they broke up the two headed monster. It’s Wilson-Hershey always 1-2 in a relay. One-two, one-two, one-two. Well, somebody else is in the discussion now."
"I didn’t even know what to say. We kinda crushed it, to be honest," Cameron said. "I’m extremely happy and I can’t wait to see what happens at States … I think we all had great swims, and I think when you put four great swims together, you just have an awesome swim to come out of it."
The 50 freestyle on Friday night represented another awesome swim from Cameron, whose gold-medal time of 23.19 seconds was just three-hundredths of a second off the District record mark of 23.16, set by Spring Grove’s Michele King in 2005. Wilson sophomore Alexandra Rockett took the silver in 23.42.
"I was aiming for more of a 23.0 or 22.9, but I’m extremely happy with (23.19) and I’ll take it and just go from there," Cameron said.
Where she goes from there, of course, is States, where she has the number one seed, 17-hundredths of a second in front of Franklin Regional sophomore Alyssa Ruffing (23.36).
"I’m hoping to be in the 22’s … 22.8 is my best, so I’m hoping to go 22-mid to high," Cameron said.
The 200 free relay foursome of Cameron, Freeman, Haney and senior Gabby Brubaker added a bronze medal on Friday in 1:38.56, bettering their seed time of 1:39.82. The top three-place finishers earned automatic bids to States, where those four girls won an eighth-place medal in 1:38.00. They also won a District bronze in 1:38.16 in 2011.
"We were 1:38.1 last year, we were 1:38.5 (Friday) night," Daum said. "So we’re right where we were."
In addition to swimming on the medal-winning 200 medley and 200 free relay teams, Haney also tied Elizabethtown junior Tess Hayward for sixth place in the 100 free in 52.91 seconds on Saturday. That improved her seed time of 54.74 by nearly two seconds.
It marked a solid bounce-back performance after a tough ninth-place finish in Friday’s 50 free in 24.62 seconds, just out of the medals.
"I think that’s going to put her in the hunt for making States," Daum said, "so she was amazing."
Later, when the time qualifiers were released for States, Haney ended up making the cut in both the 50 free and 100 free.
Unfortunately, Emily Griest fell a little bit short of States, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. The Warwick junior missed a medal by just one spot in the 500 free, improving her seed time (5:22.80) by more than seven seconds while taking ninth in 5:15.57. She also placed 14th in the 200 free in 1:58.68.
"Emily Griest did two lifetime best times and she’s had a tough year injury wise (with shoulder issues)," Daum said. "She just swims on guts. She’s like a junkyard dog that just doesn’t let go. She was super."
Schouten was battling a sickness on Saturday, but came within three-tenths of her seed time (1:09.35) in the 100 breaststroke, placing 13th overall in 1:09.68.
And the 400 free relay, consisting of Freeman, Griest, Brianna Olivieri and Emily Wyand, improved more than two seconds with their 13th-place time of 3:46.72.
"They swam great (Friday), but they stepped it up even another notch today," Daum said. "The girls as a team from top to bottom, they almost all swam lifetime best times, so you can’t ask for anything more than that."
Turning to the boys, Beard could not have asked for anything more, as he shattered the school record in the 100 breaststroke previously held by Colin Schouten, touching the wall in a time of 1:01.63 for a seventh-place medal. He also placed 11th in the 200 I.M. in 2:03.08.
"I thought he was capable of (getting the school record) going into the (100 breaststroke)," Daum said of Beard, who had a seed time of 1:02.41. "He wanted to be faster and he’s disappointed his time wasn’t better, but he scored. Last year, he was a 1:03-plus at this meet and he’s a second and a half, two seconds faster already this year … The sun will come up tomorrow. I’m happy for him, but there’s more there."
Mitchell, meanwhile, was hoping to finish top-three in the 500 freestyle to earn an automatic bid to States, and early in the race, he remained within striking distance of Hershey’s Zachary Luttrell, who eventually won the gold in 4:36.41.
But the Warwick sophomore settled for a fifth-place finish in 4:45.93. Hershey’s William Lee took third place in the event in 4:43.15.
"It’s about what I’ve gone at Leagues (4:45.75) — it’s better than my time last year at Districts, so I’m happy with that," Mitchell said. "I would have wished to drop more time … but I can’t be overly disappointed with it. I’m still doing better than I have last year."
Mitchell, who has been battling shoulder issues this year, thought he got a strong start in the race, but then lost his legs at the end.
"I think I might have went out a little fast because I was trying to stay with (Luttrell)," Mitchell said. "And then he just took off at the end and I didn’t have much left."
He also swam a personal best time in the 200 free on Friday en route to a fifth-place medal in 1:45.58. Cocalico’s Sawyer Martin and Hempfield’s Denny Atkinson tied for the third and final automatic State berth in 1:45.08.
Finally, the Warriors’ 400 free relay foursome of Justin Mitchell, Cicala, Ryan Mitchell and Jonathan Zartman wrapped things up with a sixth-place finish in 3:19.08, which was two seconds ahead of their seed time (3:21.27).
"For a lot of them, it’s the first time they’ve been here in this situation," Daum said of his boys’ squad. "They’re all young yet, they’re only sophomores, they all need to grow and get some experience … They’re all back. We graduate no boys." 200 Freestyle: 1. Z. Luttrell, Her, 1:44.14; 2. D. Ross, MT, 1:44.23; 3. S. Martin, Coc, 1:45.08; 3. D. Atkinson, Hem, 1:45.08; 5. J. Mitchell, War, 1:45.58; 6. W. Drexler, Her, 1:45.94; 7. W. Gelgot, CC, 1:46.27; 8. P. DeLuce, Her, 1:46.75.
500 Yard Freestyle: 1. Z. Luttrell, Hershey, 4:36.41; 2. T. Hine, Dallastown, 4:40.83; 3. W. Lee, Hershey, 4:43.15; 4. D. Ross, Manheim Township, 4:43.54; 5. J. Mitchell, Warwick, 4:45.93; 6. B. Johnston, Cumberland Valley, 4:46.66; 7. F. Eichhorn, Exeter, 4:48.29; 8. W. Gelgot, Cedar Crest, 4:51.04.
100 Yard Breaststroke: 1. S. Nakano, Hershey, 58.59; 2. K. Ruddle, Hershey, 58.80; 3 P. Eaken, Governor Mifflin, 59.72; 4. P. DeLuce, Hershey, 1:00.24; 5. Z. Ceneviva, Hershey, 1:01.10; 6. A. Hill, Manheim Township, 1:01.23; 7. N. Beard, Warwick, 1:01.63; 8. J. Grim, South Western, 1:02.54.
400 Yard Freestyle Relay: 1. Wilson, 3:07.95; 2. Hershey, 3:10.77; 3. Cumberland Valley, 3:11.82; 4. Dallastown, 3:14.72; 5. Hempfield, 3:18.66; 6. Warwick, 3:19.08; 7. Manheim Township, 3:19.46; 8. Muhlenberg, 3:20.65.
Team Scores (Top Five and L-L): 1. Hershey, 509; 2. Wilson, 263; 3. Dallastown, 205; 4. Cumberland Valley, 201; 5. Manheim Township, 174; 7. Hempfield, 100; 8. Warwick, 93; 10. Cedar Crest, 70; 14. Cocalico, 47.5; 19. Penn Manor, 21; 21. McCaskey, 15; 23. Conestoga Valley, 6. 200 Medley Relay: 1. Wilson, 1:46.79; 2. Warwick, 1:48.69; 3. Hershey, 1:48.82; 4. Red Lion, 1:50.29; 5. Muhlenberg, 1:50.37; 6. Dover, 1:50.42; 7. Governor Mifflin, 1:52.73; 8. Cocalico, 1:52.87.
50 Freestyle: 1. E. Cameron, War, 23.19; 2. A.Rockett, Wil, 23.42; 3. M. Veith, Her, 23.83; 4. T. Hayward, Et, 24.00; 5. S. Maurer, LD, 24.19; 6. A. Bixler, Dal, 24.26; 7. E. Clancy, ST, 24.29; 8. E. Ondrizek, Get, 24.50.
200 Freestyle Relay: 1. Hershey, 1:35.50; 2. Wilson, 1:35.79; 3. Warwick, 1:38.56; 4. Dover, 1:40.25; 5. Governor Mifflin, 1:40.26; 6. Dallastown, 1:40.82; 7. Manheim Township, 1:40.91; 8. Cumberland Valley, 1:41.31.
100 Yard Freestyle: 1. M. Raab, Hershey, 49.40; 2. A. Rockett, Wilson, 51.11; 3. M. Veith, Hershey, 51.92; 4. K. Diller, Manheim Township, 52.11; 5. A. Bixler, Dallastown, 52.13; 6(t). T. Hayward, Elizabethtown, 52.91, M. Haney, Warwick, 52.91; 8. J. Arganbright, Central York, 53.82.
100 Yard Breaststroke: 1. E. Cameron, Warwick, 1:02.34; 2. K. Reiter, Wilson, 1:06.38; 3. V. Tafuto, Hershey, 1:06.63; 4. A. Cortazzo, Wilson, 1:06.99; 5. C. DeLiberty, Hershey, 1:07.03; 6. C. McCarty, Hershey, 1:07.11; 7. P. Spradling, Hempfield, 1:07.35; 8. J. Laudermilch, Lower Dauphin, 1:07.97.
Team Scores (Top Five and L-L): 1. Hershey, 385; 2. Wilson, 340; 3. Manheim Township, 166; 4. Warwick, 157.5; 5. Red Lion, 146; 8. Hempfield, 118; 10. Cocalico, 100; 12. Elizabethtown, 72.5; 14. Ephrata, 51; 26. Conestoga Valley, 3; 29. Penn Manor, 1. More DISTRICTS, page B-6