East Penn Press

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
PRESS FILE PHOTOThe Emmaus boys swim team hopes to defend its league and district titles this season. PRESS FILE PHOTOThe Emmaus boys swim team hopes to defend its league and district titles this season.

Boys swim team looks to repeat

Friday, November 30, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

The Emmaus boys went 11-0 in the EPC last season and 12-1 overall. They also won their 11th straight District 11 championship and performed well in states. With their biggest roster in recent years, Emmaus has plenty of young swimmers pushing for spots and it’s created great competition, especially on the boys side, which head coach Tim O’Connor welcomes.

While there are big numbers, the team has just three seniors and six juniors. There are a total of 13 boys sophomore and freshmen swimmers on this year’s team.

Senior Evan Bova has played an integral part in Emmaus’ success during his high school career and is ready to help lead the team as a senior. He was quick to point out that leadership in the program never comes just from the top.

“There are a lot of guys who can lead this team, not just upperclassmen, but young swimmers are already stepping up and leading,” said Bova. “You can come in and lead just by showing what you can do and working as hard as any of the seniors and we’ve seen that happen a lot.”

“The seniors always do a great job of letting the younger swimmers know what’s expected and knowing how things work and why they work that way,” said O’Connor. “They’ve been great at telling the younger guys what our pet peeves are as coaches. That way, we don’t have to waste time reminding kids of the little things that sometimes grow to be an issue for a team.”

As usual, the team’s success in districts has put a bit of a bulls-eye on its back.

No senior class wants its district winning streak to end on its watch and that’s no different with the team this season, which has turned its attention to making sure that they aren’t just swimming to put in the work and are instead, paying attention to every facet of their practice.

Bova brought up that the team as a whole is focusing on doing the little things right and not worrying as much about yards that they swim, but their technique while doing those yards.

“We’ve worked on perfecting our technique and our stroke a lot and that’s something that’s important for us this season,” said Bova. “I think we’ve all spent a lot of time on detail and doing the little things that add up.”

Brendan McCourt, who won District 11 gold in diving, is back for his junior season and has five divers joining him on the boys team. As with the swimmers, the diving team is loaded with younger divers, featuring just two seniors – James Mont and Drew Stenger – while McCourt is the only junior. There are three sophomore boys on this year’s diving team.

“Frank Donnelly [the Emmaus diving coach] has done a great job of working with the divers and he’ll have his work cut out for him, rotating through the boys to be sure they all get time on the boards in meets,” said out O’Connor. “The competition is going to be good and it’s exciting to see that with our diving team.”

The season opens Dec. 8 with the Cedar Crest Invitational at Parkland High School and the first EPC meet is Dec.11 at Whitehall.

The first home meet is set for Dec. 13 and is a big one against Liberty, whose boys team finished fifth at districts last season, was 9-2 in the EPC last season and 9-5 overall.

Following their meet with the Hurricanes, the boys get to face Nazareth, who wasn’t on their schedule last season. Both Emmaus and Nazareth finished at 11-0 in the EPC and 12-1 overall last season.