East Penn Press

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZChelsea Gravereaux returns for an Emmaus girls swim team that might be smaller than past years but still has plenty of talent. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZChelsea Gravereaux returns for an Emmaus girls swim team that might be smaller than past years but still has plenty of talent.

Girls swim team aims for depth through diversity

Friday, December 8, 2017 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Swimming coach Tim O’Connor can’t quite put his finger on the reason, but there just are fewer girls coming out for the swim team than there have been in the past.

While the boys team is well stocked, the girls side has much less depth and a senior class of just one. The lack of depth has made O’Connor a little more inventive when it comes to putting things together.

One of the things that O’Connor is stressing is taking his swimmers – boys and girls – out of their comfort zones.

“I’ve been giving the kids a variety of workouts, workouts that are geared around making them better by making them uncomfortable,” said O’Connor. “Some kids aren’t comfortable doing butterfly or doing breaststroke and we have them do that, because some kids find out that they’re not as bad in that event as they think they are. Over the last six months, kid’s minds have twisted and so we’re not as deficient in areas. I think diversity could be our biggest strength this year.”

Junior Chelsea Gravereaux has benefited from the sometimes uncomfortable training regimens and is finding that there’s a need for being able to swim various events outside of helping her current team.

“It’s important to be a well-rounded swimmer and to be able to swim different events and length,” she said. “As I’ve started looking at colleges, I’ve found that it’s important to have more events than just one that you specialize in. Coach [O’Connor] has been big on that, too, and I think it helps a lot.”

While the numbers on the girls side are smaller than those on the boys side, Gravereaux is working hard to make herself and the team as strong as they can be. She’s also seeing that the younger swimmers have bought in to the training and are working hard to fill holes.

“I feel pretty good because this is my third year and I’ve gotten the hang of things,” said Gravereaux. “I’ve worked a lot on my tempo and my technique and my turns. A lot of the little things that will make me and the whole team better.

“I’m excited as a junior to help the underclassmen and show them the way, because they’re working hard. Sophomore Lexi Shuryn has been really good. She swam year-round and you can see how it’s paid off for her and she’s doing really well.”

The only senior girl on the team is diver Jess Hurlburt, who returns after not being with the team last season and suffering an injury that cut her sophomore season short.

The return of Hurlburt is something that O’Connor believes is going to help the team, particularly in the closer meets this season.

The coach believes that Hurlburt is one of the best divers in the state when she’s on her game and is looking forward to having her pick up points for the team.

Emmaus girls haven’t won a district title since the 2007-2008 season, with rival Parkland having won 13 of the last 14 District 11 championships.

Emmaus and Parkland will start their rivalry Saturday in the Cedar Crest Invitational, which will be held at Parkland High School. The two teams have their annual battle February 15th at Emmaus.