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Local swimmers hope to make big splash at Districts
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Three years ago, Warwick’s Emily Cameron set the swimming world on its ear when she became the first high school girl ever to break the 2:00 barrier in the 200 Individual Medley.
Then she came back as a sophomore and shattered her own State record time in that event, touching the wall in 1:57.74.
Cameron will have that mark – and the District record (2:01.67), in her sights – starting this Friday and Saturday, March 1-2 when the District Three Triple-A Swimming Championships are held at Cumberland Valley High School.
Action begins this Friday afternoon from 5-6:30 p.m. with six AAA girls events to be contested. The AAA boys will then take over the pool with those same six events from 7:30-9 p.m.
Action resumes Saturday with the remaining five events. The girls session runs from 3-4:15 p.m. while the boys go from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.
A year ago, Cameron competed in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke in the post-season. But Warwick coach Mark Daum is not surprised to see her replacing the 50 free with the 200 I.M., in addition to swimming the 100 breaststroke, as she finishes up her Warwick career.
"That’s sort of where she got her start with the whole thing," Daum said, "so I think she wants one last shot at breaking her own (200 I.M.) record … I see her maybe 2:02’s (at Districts)."
Cameron is currently seeded first in the 200 I.M. in 2:05.22, just ahead of Hempfield’s Amber McDonnell (2:05.76), and she is fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.58. Although Hershey’s Vivi Tafuto currently has the top time in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.13, Cameron, who already owns two District golds and two State golds in that event, will no doubt be the favorite. Wilson product Kristen Woodring has the District record in in 1:00.74, but Cameron has the State mark in 1:00.5.
"She didn’t swim (the 100 breaststroke) a lot during the dual meet season and the one other time she did swim it, she was really sick," Daum said. "If you have a lane, you have a chance. It doesn’t matter where you’re sitting heat-wise, lane-wise. When the race is over, that’s what counts."
Overall, the top three finishers in both the individual and relay events earn automatic bids to the State Championships, set for March 13-16 at Bucknell University. After that, the top 16 spots for States are awarded based on times from all Districts throughout the State.
Manheim Central senior Paige Daniel, a three-time State qualifier in the 500 free, will be battling for one of those automatic Triple-A spots in a pair of individual events. She is seeded third in the 200 free in 1:55.32 and third in the 500 free in 5:10.30. Hershey’s Meaghan Raab has the top time in the 200 (1:51.91) and Cumberland Valley’s Sabrina Mortell has the No. 1 seed in the 500 (5:05.47).
"If she just goes out and swims her best and goes for her best time, I think she should do fairly well," Manheim Central coach Heather Fittery said. "We’re just hoping that she does her best times and can get into States."
The Warwick girls 200 medley relay (Cameron, Brianna Olivieri, Morgan Haney, Maddie Schouten) has the fourth seed in 1:51.45 and the 400 free relay (Cameron, Emily Griest, Haney, Emily Wyand) is seeded third in 3:38.76.
"They’re in the hunt," Daum said.
So is Haney in the girls 50 free (6th, 24.43) and 100 free (10th, 53.54). She qualified for States in both of those events as a freshman and sophomore.
"She’s on the bubble," Daum said.
Schouten is seeded 28th in the 100 fly in 1:03.00, but her best opportunity will be in the 100 breaststroke, where she is eighth in 1:09.40.
"She’s got to bring her A-game," Daum said.
For the Warwick boys, junior Justin Mitchell is hoping for a return trip to States in the 500 free (4:48.76) and 200 free (9th, 1:46.87).
"(Justin) is sitting pretty good," Daum said.
Junior Nick Beard, who battling sickness at the League Championships, is seventh in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.21 and 12th in the 200 I.M. in 2:03.56.
"He hasn’t had any setbacks from that (sickness) standpoint," Daum said. "He has an outside chance in the 100 breast."
The Warwick boys’ best chance for States in the relays is with the 400 free, which is seeded eighth in 3:20.54. The 200 free relay is 10th in 1:32.56 and the 200 medley relay is 15th in 1:44.83.
Rounding out the Warwick boys and girls District qualifiers are Griest (11th in the 500 free in 5:20.95 and 15th in the 200 free in 1:59.84), Olivieri (26th in the 100 fly in 1:02.98), Danielle dePerrot (28th in the 100 back in 1:04.73), Jon Zartman (17th in the 200 free in 1:50.56 and 19th in the 500 free in 5:01.98), Jack Lance (26th in the 100 back in 58.82 seconds and 27th in the 200 I.M. in 2:06.87), Tim Griest (13th in the 500 free in 4:56.46 and 28th in the 200 I.M. in 2:07.73), Ryan Mitchell (14th in the 100 free in 49.85 seconds and 23rd in the 50 free in 23.06 seconds) and Chris Cicala (30th in the 100 free in 51.23 seconds).
For Manheim Central, freshman Paetyn Zeamer is seeded 25th in the 100 fly (1:02.95), while freshman Matthew Daniel is 4th in the 200 I.M. (2:06.28) and 5th in the 500 free (4:57.46).
"We’re hoping for him to go and do good times swimming against the competition and drop his times and see how he does from there," Fittery said. More SWIMMERS, page B-3