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Ephrata’s Zell headed to Division One UMBC
TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com
, Staff Writer
After winning four L-L League swimming medals during her junior year, and following that up with a successful summer for her club team, Ephrata’s Katie Zell was looking forward to what looked to be a promising senior season.
Unfortunately, a shoulder injury derailed those plans this past season.
Zell wound up missing nearly two months of action as she recovered from a tear in her rotator cuff.
It was the kind of thing that could deflate an athlete, especially one that had dreamed of performing one day at the collegiate level. But for Zell, she looked at it differently.
"It definitely changed my perspective," Zell said of the injury. "After the season prior, even in the summer, I had dropped so much time. I was working so hard and I kind of went into this past fall thinking, ‘I’m going to work extremely hard and no one is going to stop me…’And then all of a sudden I had this big barrier and I couldn’t swim for a few months. It kind of put it into perspective that I have to really appreciate everything that I have. Actually, in a way it was kind of beneficial for me to get an injury because then I valued everything I did so much more."
Zell did return to the pool where she earned four total medals at the L-L League meet, captured a pair of fifth-place medals and qualified for Districts to cap off her high school career. And in the end, she did have her dreams of swimming collegiately fulfilled.
The 2013 EHS grad recently accepted a partial athletic scholarship to swim at Division One University of Baltimore County. Zell, who considered schools at all division levels, in the end chose UMBC over fellow Division One Rider University.
She said she knew it was the place for her the moment she arrived on campus.
"I just think when I first got there, just the area in general, I kind of had a good feeling about it," she said. "Right away I looked at my dad and said, ‘this just feels right.’ And then once I met the coach, the coach was just so nice. Everything just kind of seemed to click. I didn’t really doubt anything after that."
Zell originally planned to study education and English but may be leaning toward switching to economics.
As for the swimming, Zell said she expects to swim mostly breaststroke and possibly some sprint freestyle for the Retrievers.
"There’s going to be a lot of incoming freshmen, but I think they are going to have me swim breaststroke," she said. "Personally, I think my best events are the 50 free and the 100 free…With the 100 breast, I just need to work on it more but I feel I have the potential to go faster in it. I think they are going to try to train me to swim faster in that."
For now, she will compete with her Lancaster Aquatic Club team and do "a lot of training" over the summer to get ready.
Zell joins a team that went 5-3 in league play this past season and placed second overall in the team standings at the America East Conference Meet.
More ZELL, page B-5