East Penn Press

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ The Hornets' Rickey Thomas competes in a freestyle event at states. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ The Hornets' Rickey Thomas competes in a freestyle event at states.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZChelsea Gravereaux reached the finals in four events at last weekend’s state championship meet. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZChelsea Gravereaux reached the finals in four events at last weekend’s state championship meet.

EHS girls place fifth at state swimming

Thursday, March 22, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

The Emmaus High School girls swimming team seemed to get stronger as the season went on. The Hornets culminated their season with a sixth-place finish in the PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships last week at Bucknell University.

Junior Chelsea Gravereaux celebrated with appearances in finals of four events, two each in individual and relay. Her highest finish came in the 100-yard butterfly where she finished fifth and she placed tenth in the 100 freestyle for her individual swims.

In the butterfly, Gravereaux finished with a finals time of 55.40 seconds, less than a second out of a second-place finish. The event was won by Manheim Township’s Amy Yunginger with a time of 54 seconds. The results in the 100 freestyle were very close, with just over one second separating the third-place finisher from the 51.17 finish that Gravereaux posted in the consolation finals to finish tenth. Seven of the top 10 swimmers in the freestyle event were from District One schools.

Emmaus’ Katie Champagne finished eighth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.35, just off her preliminary time of 57.05. Emmaus head coach Tim O’Connor believes that the finishes by Gravereaux and Champagne in states will set the example for other swimmers on just how much they can accomplish with hard work.

“I now hope that these girls are motivated to encourage more of their teammates to dedicate themselves to improve over the next 300-plus days so that they can hopefully improve on their sixth-place team finish, especially since no one from our state team graduates,” O’Connor said.

In relays, Gravereaux and Champagne teamed with fellow junior Abby Heilenman and freshman Peyton Rautzhan in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. The foursome finished sixth in the 200 freestyle event with a time of 1:36.24 just over three seconds off the winning pace set by a team from Governor Mifflin. The four Hornet swimmers returned to finish seventh in the 400 freestyle with a time of 3:31.25 in the finals, which was won by a team from North Penn High School.

“The difference between last year and this year was they not only had this experience before, but now wanted to earn a medal,” said O’Connor. “That extra motivation to dig down deep helped our team greatly.”

The top eight individual and relay teams receive medals.

The boys team saw diver Brendan McCourt pick up a medal for seventh place with a finals score of 445.70. McCourt was right on the tails of two divers from Mt. Lebanon High School, who finished in fifth and sixth. The Emmaus sophomore was just .95 points out of sixth and 1.25 points behind fifth-place finisher Lucas Bumgarner.

“Brendan McCourt did a fabulous job earning a seventh-place medal at the state meet. Last year he was odd man out at districts and he turned that into a positive by competing at a very high level this year,” said O’Connor. “I hope the taste of this experience motivates him to continue to strive to be a returning member of our state team and strive to earn another medal next season.”

Emmaus finished 15th in the 200 medley relay when Pat McAllister, Evan Bova, Ricky Thomas and Colby Kocon teamed up to post a time of 1:37.33 in the event. McAllister, Thomas and Kocon are all seniors, while Bova is a junior.

“All year we knew our depth was our strength and so the fact that we brought all those boys to states really impressed me,” said O’Connor. “Would I have loved to see them medal and place higher? Sure, but they really did a fantastic job all season. I think after this experience many more of our boys are more focused on what they need to do to not just earn a trip back but compete there.”

The Emmaus boys team finished 36th out of 58 teams at the state meet, which was held at Bucknell University.