East Penn Press

Monday, April 22, 2019

Boys swimmers are atop EPC

Thursday, February 7, 2019 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

The Emmaus boys swimming and diving team took wins over Central Catholic, Pocono Mountain East and West and East Stroudsburg South last week to move its record to 10-1 on the season and 10-0 in the EPC.

Emmaus stands atop the conference standings with Northampton (9-2, 8-1) second, followed by Parkland (8-0-1, 7-0-1) and Nazareth (8-1-1, 7-1-1).

Against Central Catholic, Emmaus took a 97-65 win and swept the top three spots in four events. In the 500-yard freestyle, Emmaus had Michael Iacobelli, Paul Petre and Alex Magditch finish in the top three spots, while Owen Mont, A.J. Lamack and Seth Metzger grabbed first, second and third in the 200 freestyle.

Devin Metzger, Luke Rautzhan and Cooper Kocon were in the top three spots in the 50 freestyle for Emmaus. In diving, senior James Mont took the top spot, with fellow senior Drew Stenger and Kyle Ryan finishing second and third.

The meet against Central Catholic also provided the Hornets with the opportunity to highlight their seniors with senior night festivities. Seniors were well represented throughout the night. In addition to Mont and Stenger taking the top two spots in diving, Patrick Kuzdzal grabbed a first place in the 100 butterfly and Evan Bova won the 200 IM. Another senior, Matt Gertner took second in the 100 freestyle.

“The crazy thing about it is that while it’s not our last meet, it’s getting there and we’re all starting to realize that now,” said Gertner of the senior celebration.

Gertner has picked up team points for Emmaus in his three previous trips to districts and is looking forward to this year’s District 11 Championships on the first two days of March. Last season, the district meet was moved to Emmaus High School after a winter storm took out power at the larger venue at Parkland High School.

As a senior, Gertner is looking to again put up points for his team and while it was fun to have last year’s districts in his home pool, he is looking forward to competing again at Parkland.

“This year we’ve got a great group of guys coming up and we’re just really looking to compete and do well,” Gertner said. “Having it back at Parkland, it’s a completely different atmosphere with the bigger pool and the huge crowd, so I’m looking forward to it. Personally, I’m striving to drop my times down a little bit. We’re all just really ready for districts.”

“Matt’s a very smart kid and is passionate about how he’s trying to improve in the pool,” said Hornet head coach Tim O’Connor. “He looks to see the path as clearly as possible when he’s approaching how to get better and sometimes as a coach, I have to get them to not be too analytical and just trust it and go.

“Matt is enjoying himself more than I’ve ever seen and I think he’s really comfortable in the pool and he’s doing better than I could have expected this year. He was a little nervous because we changed his training a little this year and he wasn’t sure what to expect. He bought into it and he understands that he’s got a specific role to play to be successful with this team and he’s doing that and more.”

Between now and then, Emmaus has matches against Bridgewater-Raritan and the season’s ultimate showdown against Parkland High School, which is also at Parkland High School again this season.

In the quad-meet this past Saturday, Emmaus had six first-place finishers. Metzger won the 200 freestyle event, Rautzhan took the 200 IM and Lamack finished in the top spot in the 100 butterfly. Iacobelli won the 100 freestyle, while Nick Soares took the 500 freestyle and Gio Germano, who won the 100 freestyle against Central Catholic, took the 100 backstroke in the quad-meet.