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Three L-L golds for Schouten
Warwick’s Emma Schouten.
“I was really taken back by that,” she said.
Admittedly motivated by the omission, Schouten let her actions in the pool on Friday night speak for themselves.
All the Warwick freshman did in her first L-L Championship Meet was bring home three gold medals – in the 200 medley relay (1:54.04), 500 freestyle (5:09.22) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.04) – and a fifth-place medal in the 400 free relay (3:55.25), helping the Lady Warriors to a third-place finish with 77 points at the Lititz recCenter.
“I think she wanted to get some respect and say, ‘Even though I’m a freshman, I’m here too,’” Warwick coach Mark Daum said. “That’s the competitor in her.”
As a team, the Lady Warriors’ competitive fire led them to a third-place finish with 77 points. They were actually positioned second going into the final event, but Cocalico’s gold medal in the 400 freestyle relay, coupled with Warwick’s fifth-place finish, gave the Lady Eagles 79 team points and enabled them to place second overall behind only team champ Manheim Township (123 points).
“Two points is like two-tenths of a second,” Daum said. “With that many points in a meet like that, it was a touch out here, a touch-out there. It wasn’t meant to be and they gave it their best. I’m not disappointed in anybody’s effort, or lack thereof. It’s just Cocalico has a lot of front-line swimmers and in a meet like this, that can score you a ton of points. We had a couple of close races that we just didn’t get, and like I said, two points is like two-tenths of a second. That’s how close it was.”
Thanks to a gold from the 200 medley relay foursome of Danielle de Perrot, Schouten, Brianna Olivieri and Morgan Haney in 1:54.04, the Warwick girls got 18 quick points in the first event.
“I just love swimming with those girls,” Schouten said. “(Brianna and Morgan) are seniors, so I really had to get a best time for them.”
The career-best times kept coming in the 500 free and 100 breaststroke. Schouten had a slim lead on Cocalico’s Sidney Evans through the first 250 yards in the 500 free, but then the Lady Eagle junior overtook her and led by more than a second.
“After my first 200, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I have enough in the tank,’” Schouten recalled. “I was really scared and I finally got some more energy at the end.”
Indeed she did, coming from behind with a time of 29.76 seconds over the final 50 yards to touch first in 5:09.22, just seven-hundredths of a second in front of Evans (5:09.29). That was a four-second improvement on her seed time of 5:13.63.
“(Emma) got a little distracted and it’s like a horse, you give them the whip and it’s like, ‘OK, I came back,’ and then she just went,” Daum said. “That’s her tenacity. She just doesn’t give up and she didn’t let (Evans) get away from her and came back and beat her.”
Although exhausted from the 500 free, Schouten came back three events later and turned in another strong effort against Hempfield’s top-seeded Maddy Popalis.
“(Popalis) is an amazing swimmer and I knew I had my work cut out for me,” Schouten said. “So I was ready to swim.”
In the end, Schouten dropped 51-hundredths of a second off her seed time, touching the wall in 1:08.04 to edge the Lady Knight junior (1:08.12).
“I honestly didn’t think I beat her,” Schouten said. “I thought I got second, then I looked at the clock and I was just so happy with that.”
Her goal was to get off the blocks, grab the lead on Popalis and then held on.
“(The strategy was) not to let Popalis get away from her,” Daum said. “Turn with her on the third 25, then just come home untouched and that’s what she did. She is just a born natural competitor and she thrives on that. She thrives on the race, the chase, and some kids don’t. She just loves to compete, win or lose.”
With three golds under her belt, Schouten competed with Emily Wyand, Kate Mobley and Anna Lance to bring home a fifth-place medal in the 400 free relay in 3:55.25.
Besides winning gold with the 200 medley relay, Haney took bronze in the 50 free (25.14) and fifth in the 100 free (55.89). She had the 2nd (24.86) and 3rd (55.52) seeds, respectively, in those events.
“I know she was disappointed and she’s hoping for better outcomes Feb. 28 and March 1 (at Districts),” Daum remarked.
Haney also added a bronze in the 200 free relay (1:44.96) with Wyand, Olivieri and dePerrot.
Individually, dePerrot chipped in with two medals – sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.80) and seventh in the 200 I.M. (2:20.60) – while Oliveri touched the wall seventh in the 100 fly (1:03.45) and Lance brought home a fifth-place medal in the 500 freestyle in 5:37.61.
Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4451.