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Warwick swimmers win six L-L gold medals Boys and girls teams both place second to MT
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Nearly 24 hours after Maddie Schouten brought the house down last Friday, the Warwick junior was still walking on air.
"I talked to her Saturday afternoon," Warrior swim coach Mark Daum recalled, "and asked, ‘Did your feet hit the floor yet?’ She said, ‘No.’"
Who can blame her?
Seeded eighth in the girls 100 breastroke, Schouten pulled off an upset by claiming the gold medal in 1:09.35 at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Girls Swimming Championships at the Lititz recCenter. That equaled her lifetime best which she achieved at last year’s District Championships.
"I was blown away," said Schouten, who dropped her seed time of 1:12.82 by more than three seconds. "I had absolutely no idea where I was in the race. When I touched the wall and saw my time and everyone was screaming and I looked at my time again, I was like, ‘Oh my God.’"
Schouten’s effort was just one of many standout performances by the Warwick girls, who also got a pair of individual golds from Emily Cameron in the 200 free (1:52.81) and 100 backstroke (58.57), relay golds in the 200 medley and 200 free, and other personal records across the board.
"I don’t necessarily want to single out one performance," Daum said. "I think Maddie would say the same thing. I mean, (Maddie’s performance) was super. But there were great swims at the meet, swim after swim. It was the perfect storm. It all came together and we had some amazing, shocking time drops and all three relays were exceptional."
Their finish in the team standings was also exceptional, placing runner-up to Manheim Township (111 points) with 96 points. It’s believed to be the highest finish for a Warwick girls team at Leagues.
"I’m excited … that was an awesome meet for us," Cameron said.
"Warwick is very fortunate and blessed to have those talented kids," Daum said. "I was thrilled for them."
Warwick also has plenty of talent on the boys side, as Nick Beard took home a gold in the 100 breast (1:02.41) and a fifth-place medal in the 200 I.M. (2:05.12), Justin Mitchell won a silver in the 500 free (4:45.75) and bronze in the 200 free (1:47.41), and Cole Cicala grabbed a pair of bronze medals in the 200 I.M. (2:03.50) and 100 fly (55.28) in Thursday’s L-L Boys Championships at the Lititz rec.
That helped the Warriors (79 points) edge Hempfield (72) for second place, behind only team champ Manheim Township (135).
"That’s as good as it gets," Daum said. "I don’t think that’s ever been topped (by a Warwick boys team) either. The dual meet we had with Hempfield was close, so you’ve got to think going in you’d be in the hunt."
The Warwick girls were definitely in the hunt, particularly after Cameron, senior Tara Freeman, sophomore Morgan Haney and Schouten opened the meet with a gold in the 200 medley relay in 1:50.24, giving them an early 18-10 advantage on the Blue Streaks. Besides touching the wall three seconds faster than they did last year (1:53.34) while taking the L-L bronze, the Lady Warriors also set the league and meet records, while tying the pool record achieved by West Chester East.
"The four girls we put together were just absolutely incredible," Cameron said. "We were thrilled. The fact that we were (three seconds) ahead of where we were last year at this time is saying a lot."
Cameron then kept things rolling in the next event, edging out Ephrata’s Kylee Parsons for the gold in the 200 free. Her L-L Meet-record time of 1:52.81 was just ahead of Parsons, who touched the wall in 1:53.19.
"It was a really quick turnaround, but my adrenaline was still pumping from the relay," Cameron said, "so that helped a lot. I wanted to go 1:50, but Casey (Coble), my (club) coach, has been killing us in practice and I expected it to hurt, and it did, but I’m happy with my time. I’ll take it."
Warwick continued to lead 27-26 through the third event, but the Blue Streaks pulled in front, 39-37, following the 50 free, courtesy of a gold by Township’s Katie Diller. Warwick, though, had a couple of medalists of its own in that event, courtesy of Haney’s bronze in 24.82 seconds and Freeman’s fifth-place medal in 25.41 seconds.
Schouten and sophomore Brianna Olivieri then placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.94 and 1:04.50. Haney added to her haul with another bronze in the 100 free in 54.74 seconds, and junior Emily Griest scored points with a fifth-place finish in the 500 freestyle in 5:22.80.
That set the stage for the 200 free relay, as Haney, Cameron, senior Gabby Brubaker and Freeman set the winning pace in 1:39.82, just ahead of Township’s time of 1:41.56. Last year, the Lady Warriors won the gold in 1:40.75 and then Brubaker, Cameron, Freeman and Haney went on to set a school record of 1:37.97 at States on their way to winning a PIAA eighth-place medal.
"It’s the last year we’ll be together," Cameron said, "so we want to make it big."
Cameron also came up big in the 100 back, clocking a lifetime best 58.57 seconds while winning her second gold of the meet. She was nearly two seconds in front of silver-medalist Olivia Evans (1:00.49) of Cocalico.
"I was hoping for a 58-low, but obviously with that quick of a turnaround, I expected it to just hurt a lot and it did," Cameron said. "But I was focused on trying to go best time."
That nearly broke the school record as well, but Emily Eidemiller’s mark of 58.12, set in 2008, continued to stand. Asked if she cares that the 100 back is the only individual event that she doesn’t hold the school record, Cameron said, "No, to be honest. I do it for the team. Everybody says it’s an individual sport, but when you come to a meet like this, it’s all the team."
The big-meet atmosphere didn’t intimidate Schouten. Having also reached 1:09.35 at Districts last year, she and Daum both knew that she was capable of it.
"She’s had a tough year. Every athlete gets stuck in a plateau and inches seem like yards, yards seem like miles just (making) any kind of little improvement," Daum said. "We were having a pretty good meet and (Maddie) certainly rose to the occasion on that account and brought her A-plus game."
Schouten’s goal was to improve her seed time for Districts, hoping perhaps to drop it into the 1:10 range, But she got more than that.
"I wasn’t really thinking about (1:09)," she said. "I was thinking about going (longer strokes) and trying new things. I’m usually short and choppy, but I went a little longer and it helped. And I’m usually a little slow off my turns, but I tried to go faster and my turns felt so good."
The Warwick girls finished the meet with a fourth-place finish in the 400 free relay. Freeman, Griest, Olivieri and freshman Emily Wyand touched the wall in 3:48.88.
Turning to the boys, Beard, a sophomore, earned the Warriors only gold and nearly broke the school record in the 100 breastroke. His time of 1:02.41 fell just short of the mark held by Colin Schouten (1:01.9).
"(Nick)’s closing in on it," Daum said. "He’s within a half second."
The seeds indicated a three-way battle between Lancaster Catholic’s Albert (1:02.17), Beard (1:03.08) and Manheim Township’s Hill (1:03.36). And at the wall, Beard edged out Hill (1:03.09) for top honors.
"The three of them were neck-and-neck," Daum said. "So it was anybody’s race and Nick just stepped up and won it."
Justin Mitchell and Cicala also stepped up to score key points for the Warriors. Mitchell (4:45.75) was barely more than a second behind Township’s Dan Ross (4:44.24) in the 500 free, and Cicala achieved lifetime best times in the 200 Individual Medley, 100 fly and his 400 free relay split. Justin Mitchell and Cicala teamed up with Ryan Mitchell and Jonathan Zartman on the 400 free relay which won silver in 3:21.27.
"Justin Mitchell had a great meet. His times were better than what he did last year at this same meet," Daum said. "He had some great races. Cole Cicala has got his health back and just was phenomenal. So he had equally a great meet. That’s from top to bottom. Jack Lance, who is only a freshman, dropped his 200 free by almost two seconds. When kids see somebody else do well, that gets everybody else excited, like maybe they’re going to do well."
Other medal winners for Warwick were the silver-medal winning 200 medley relay consisting of Justin Mitchell, Beard, Ryan Mitchell, Cicala (1:43.95), and the fourth-place 200 free relay (Seth Cagno, Beard, Ryan Mitchell and Zartman), which touched the wall in 1:33.78.
Ryan Mitchell added a seventh-place finish in the 50 free in 23.22 seconds and Zartman was eighth in the 200 free in 1:55.17. More WHS SWIMMERS, page B-6