East Penn Press

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZMya Puntes swims the butterfly during a recent meet. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZMya Puntes swims the butterfly during a recent meet.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Katie Champagne swims the breaststroke during a recent meet. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Katie Champagne swims the breaststroke during a recent meet.

EHS swim team in the midst of busy schedule

Wednesday, January 2, 2019 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

The first month of the winter sports season can be a hectic one. With scheduled time off for Christmas and the New Year, time for training and working on specific things can be rare as games come fast and furious.

That’s been the case for Emmaus swimming, which opened the season with the Cedar Crest Classic and then had meets with Whitehall, Liberty and Nazareth on the schedule.

The latest triumph saw the Emmaus girls down Nazareth 132-52, while the boys beat the Blue Eagles 114-71. Both teams have opened the season with a 3-0 start.

“Our kids are swimming as a team and working together as a team. They are having fun, competing, and learning how to improve in some aspect of their competitive profile,” said coach Tim O’Connor of the early season success.

The girls team got off to a strong start against Nazareth with a team led by seniors Katie and Maggie Champagne joining freshmen Mya Puentes and Lauren Sharp to win the 200-medley relay just ahead of Emmaus’ team of Chelsea Gravereaux, Abby Heilenman, Lexi Shuryn and Avery King. Emmaus then swept the top three spots in the 200-freestyle when Gravereaux made a quick turnaround to win with a time of 1:54.87, ahead of teammates Reilly King and Kera Reinhard.

Avery King won the 200 individual medley and Katie Champagne won the 100-butterfly. Gravereaux and Reilly King returned for their second top finishes of the day in the 100 and 500-freestyle events, respectively. Katie Champagne added her second individual win in the 100-backstroke and Emmaus swimmers again took a sweep when the 100-breaststroke came up with freshman Chloe Vlaeminck taking the top spot. Emmaus teams also took wins in the 200 and 400-freestyle relays.

On the boys side, the team of Evan Bova, Michael Iacobelli, Jack Sharp and Nick Soares finished just .28 seconds ahead of Nazareth to take the 200-medley relay. Sharp was also part of the team that won the 200-freestyle relay when he joined forces with Matt Gertner, Connor Shriver and Luke Rautzhan. Iacobelli took the top spot in the 200-IM while Gio Germano took first in the 100-butterfly just .68 seconds ahead of teammate Devin Metzger. Nick Soares was the top finisher in the 100-backstroke for Emmaus.

In diving, Morgan Belisle, Abby Barnes and Audrey Davidson finished second, third and fourth on the girls side. Brendan McCourt continued his fast start by winning the boys diving event with teammates James Mont and Ryan Kyle finishing second and third.

Over the break, O’Connor will have his team working on improving its skills and patching up some holes that he’s seen but hasn’t had time to address because of the busy schedule. Unfortunately, there won’t be too much time because right after the New Year the team heads to Bucknell University for the annual Bucknell Invitational and five days after that it swims against Allen. The schedule continues with the Wilson Relays take place on Jan. 12 and the Hornets’ annual dual meet against Wilson West Lawn comes up a week later.

“We are looking forward to some down time to simply train and improve on these areas as much as possible over winter break as January is always a busy month,” pointed out O’Connor.

Some of the top teams from around Pennsylvania compete in the Bucknell meet, including Wilson West Lawn, North Allegheny, State College, Cumberland Valley, Hershey, Mount Lebanon and EPC foe Parkland. The meet provides a good gauge for where swimmers are at early in the season compared to some of the better swimmers who will compete in states back at Bucknell next March.