East Penn Press

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONMichael Iacobelli competes in the butterfly event during a recent meet against Central Catholic. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONMichael Iacobelli competes in the butterfly event during a recent meet against Central Catholic.
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONKera Reinhard takes a breath during the breaststroke event against Central Catholic. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONKera Reinhard takes a breath during the breaststroke event against Central Catholic.

EHS swimmers compete at Wilson Relays

Friday, January 19, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Emmaus swimming head coach Tim O’Connor has spent a lot of time thinking about how best to mix and match his swimmers for relay events this season, especially on the boys side. With that being part of what O’Connor needs to figure out this season, the Wilson Relays came in handy to help sort out who wants to be where.

The boys team finished third, while the girls came home with a fifth-place finish in the team competition. Wilson and North Penn finished ahead of the boys, while North Penn took home first place on the girls side at Wilson West Lawn.

“I think we’re starting to get a feel for how we can put together teams, but there’s a lot of competition, especially on the boys side, which is really pushing our swimmers,” said O’Connor. “Nobody has the feeling – or at least they shouldn’t have the feeling - that they are locked in for that spot on a relay, especially the swimmers who are the fourth person in on those teams, because someone could knock them out.”

The top finish of the day for Emmaus came from the girls team of Katie Champagne, Abby Heilenman, Reilly King and Chelsea Gravereaux, who finished first in the 200-yard backstroke event, finishing .19 seconds ahead of a team from North Penn. King, Heilenman, Gravereaux and Peyton Rautzhan comprised the 400 freestyle team that finished third in the event on the girls side.

The boys took third in the 200-yard butterfly by teaming up Devin Metzger, Colby Kocon, Ricky Thomas and Patrick McAllister. Emmaus boys also came in third in the 200 breaststroke with Cooper Kocon, Colby Kocon, Michael Iacobelli and Evan Bova swimming.

In events featuring only ninth and 10th graders, Emmaus teamed up underclassmen Michael Iacobelli, Devin Metzger, Connor Shriver and Nick Soares to finish third in the 200 medley relay and fourth in the 200 freestyle on the boys side.

The underclassmen girls team of Bella Buchman, Peyton Rautzhan, Kera Reinhard and Lexi Shuryn came in fourth in the 200-medley and fifth in the 200-freestyle events.

The Wilson Relays also feature two events for mixed teams, one of several events at Wilson that aren’t featured in regular season meets, districts or state meets. Emmaus took first in the mixed 400 freestyle with Katie Champagne, Chelsea Gravereaux, Patrick McAllister and Ricky Thomas teaming up. Maggie Champagne, Caroline Nelson, Evan Bova and Michael Brennan finished sixth in the mixed 400 medley.

“We look not just at speeds, but how do they approach these events,” said O’Connor. “Are they really pushing when they’re close to another swimmer? Do they kick into that extra gear when they’re being challenged?

“That’s why at districts, I might make a last-minute change on a team because I remember that a kid really gutted out a couple races for us and if it’s going to be close, I need them in there at that point.”

While the swimmers were at Wilson West Lawn, divers headed for Nazareth High School to compete in the mid-season Eastern Pennsylvania Diving Challenge.

Emmaus’ Brendan McCourt took first place on the boys side by just over 12 points. Drew Stenger finished seventh while Kyle Ryan, James Mont and Alex Pisarek finished 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively. Emmaus didn’t have any female divers compete in the event which was won by Lexi Lehman of Parkland followed by three other Parkland divers to round out the top four.

“Our diving has come a long way,” said O’Connor. “We’re seeing swimmers say ‘I think that I’d like to try that,’ which is a big thing, because there’s some risk involved there. As we get more successful, more and more divers are going to come out of the woodwork and that’s a great thing for the team as a whole.”