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Schouten claims District title
Warwick girls 200 medley relay shatters school record
Place in the top three.
That was the goal of the Warwick girls 200 medley relay last Friday night.
“We knew all we needed to do was just get to States,” senior Emma Schouten said.
They did exactly that … and a lot more at the District Three Triple-A Swimming Championships.
The foursome of juniors Tyler Mandrell and Lauryn Ober, sophomore Emma Oberholtzer, and Schouten not only took the silver medal in 1:45.44, but shattered the school record (1:46.33) they set at Districts in 2016.
Governor Mifflin, the eventual District team runner-up, claimed gold in the medley relay in 1:45.19.
“It was fun because we went almost a whole second faster than last year,” Ober said.
Seeded in 1:47.60, the Lady Warriors weren’t even thinking about the record as the walked into Cumberland Valley High School.
“Not at all,” Ober said.
“They sorta shocked everybody,” Warwick coach Mark Daum said. “It’s so hard to put it all together with four legs. If two are on, three are on, somebody’s usually not quite on their game, but they were all on their game. Mifflin, obviously they’re the District (runner-ups), so no shame in that, but to break the school record by almost a second … that’s the way you want to get started in any sport.”
It set a tone for the two-day meet in which the Warwick girls captured 10 medals, including gold from Schouten in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.15, and finished fourth in the final team standings with 201 points. Hershey edged Governor Mifflin for the team championship, 331-329 1/2.
“As a team, we had a breakout season, so it’s nice to finish on a high note,” Schouten said.
With the top three finishers in each event from District Three automatically qualifying for States, Ober punched her ticket in the 200 I.M. as well, en route to winning the bronze medal in 2:05.65.
Others advanced based on times, as there was no shortage of PRs recorded by Warwick. Schouten also moved on in the 200 I.M., Tyler Mandrell in the 50 free and 100 backstroke, Ober in the 100 breaststroke and Schouten, Mandrell, Brina Uhlin and Ober in the 400 free relay.
“Almost to a kid, they came and did a personal-best in something,” Daum remarked. “I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Schouten, seeded No. 1 in Saturday’s 100 breaststroke in 1:04.61, was hoping for a better time, but it was still fast enough to get her to the wall just ahead of Hershey’s Caylene Rippon (1:05.18).
“I think she tightened up a little bit on the last length,” Daum said. “Fortunately, she had her press-on nails on because you saw how close it was. But a win is a win from that standpoint. Her time was up a little bit, but she gets to swim again at States.”
“The first 50 felt really good,” Schouten said, “and then the last 25 was brutal. I had nothing left in my arms. But I’m happy.”
The Loyola University-recruit was on target to improve her seed time following the first 50, touching the wall with a split of 30.06, and then she posted a 35.09 over the next 50 yards.
“I still have States, so it’s not over yet,” Schouten said. “I still have work to do.”
Ober gave Warwick a second medalist in the 100 breaststroke, placing sixth in 1:06.09, barely behind Mifflin’s fifth-place Rachel Johnson (1:05.98).
“I was happy with that,” Ober said. “I felt really good on the first 50 and then the last 25 was brutal, like Emma said. I just had nothing left in my legs.”
There was nothing brutal about the 200 I.M., in which Ober held her No. 3 ranking, dropping exactly one second off her seed time of 2:06.65. Schouten was just a fingernail in fourth place in 2:05.67.
Ober got a strong start, holding a slim lead after the butterfly (26.64) over Muhlenberg’s Cameron Gring (26.83). Then Gring, who eventually won the gold in 2:03.01, pulled ahead on the backstroke.
“(The key was) just to go out and try to keep up with everyone on the backstroke,” Ober said. “That’s not my worst stroke, but it’s in the middle, it’s not my strongest. Coming back on free is always the toughest for me. Free is by far my worst stroke, so just trying to finish it out is tough.”
Following a strong split on the breaststroke leg, Ober battled through the 100 free to clinch bronze in a lifetime best finish.
“It was so exciting,” Ober said. “Just to finish where I was seeded, I was happy.”
The Warwick junior acknowledged feeling pressure as a top-three seed, but she overcame.
“First through fifth,” Ober said, “you come in with a target on your back, everyone wants to be where you are.”
Schouten felt like she had that target on her back in the 100 breaststroke. Not so much in the 200 Individual Medley, however. She brought home her fourth-place finish with a 29.98 split in the free.
“It was nice going in not having any pressure,” she said. “That was an event to have fun.”
Mandrell certainly had fun while setting a new personal-best time in the 100 backstroke, leading her to a fifth-place medal in 58.20 seconds. It was 3/10ths of a second faster than her seed (58.50).
“It felt good,” Mandrell said. “I’m happy that it was a best time. I came up a little short of what I wanted to do, which was the team record, but I’m still happy with the best time.”
The school record of 58.12 was just eight-hundredths of a second off of Mandrell’s finish.
Asked what she could have done differently, Mandrell, who added a seventh-place finish in the 50 free in 24.07 seconds, said, “I think the one wall, I might not have pushed off hard enough. And just not focusing on getting that time, focusing on just moving my arms fast would’ve been helpful.”
Brina Uhlin was moving her arms fast enough to earn an 8th-place medal in the 100 back in 1:00.30. The Warwick freshman was seeded 24th in that event in a time of 1:03.19.
“I was really excited,” said Uhlin, who also took an eighth-place medal in the 100 butterfly in 58.97. “I really wanted to get a best time in that event because (Friday) I didn’t get a best time in my 100 fly. So that was really my goal and to get that was really exciting.”
“(Brina) just has it in her DNA from her brothers (Keir and Cade),” Daum said. “She’s a great competitor. She had her head on straight. (Friday), she was a little disappointed. Her time was a little up (in the 100 fly) from the League Meet, but boy oh boy, to her credit, she turned it around and had an awesome swim.”
Her split times were consistent with a 29.60 on the opening 50, following by a 30.70.
“I knew I was going fast,” Uhlin said. “My legs were starting to burn the last 25, but I was just trying to keep going.”
The Warwick girls closed out the District Meet with a fifth-place medal in the 400 free relay in 3:34.75. Seeded in 3:35.87, Schouten, Mandrell, Uhlin and Ober combined to drop a second.
“You can’t ask for any more than performing at your best,” Daum said. “It was great.”
Girl Swimming caption”: In her final individual event at Districts, Emma Schouten makes a final push to the wall in the 100-yard breaststroke. She took the gold medal in a winning time of 1:05.15. Photo by Mike Shull
About Bruce Morgan
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