Making a splash

By on February 19, 2014

Cocalico’s Sam Marino is shown during her gold medal winning swim in the 100 backstroke. Marino led Cocalico to a second place team finish by winning four gold medals on the evening. Photo by Mike Shull

Cocalico’s Sam Marino is shown during her gold medal winning swim in the 100 backstroke. Marino led Cocalico to a second place team finish by winning four gold medals on the evening. Photo by Mike Shull

Behind Marino’s four wins, Cocalico takes second place at league meet

With eight girls on its entire roster, no one could have expected Cocalico to compete, let alone dominate most of the competition this season.

Yet, the Lady Eagles plowed through Section Two on their way to a third-straight title. And this past Friday, at the Lancaster-Lebanon Meet held at the Lititz Rec Center, Cocalico made its biggest statement to date.

Sparked by a brilliant night by junior Sam Marino, who claimed four golds, the Lady Eagles finished second overall in the team standings behind only Section One power Manheim Township, which captured the title with 123 points on the night.

Cocalico, which needed a victory in the 400 free relay to leapfrog Warwick and claim second place, did just that as the team of Lydia Bearinger, Sidney Evans, Morgan Haines and Marino closed out the night with a victory in a time of 3:41.17. The Lady Eagles finished with 79 points, two ahead of third-place Warwick (77).

Afterward, a giddy Cocalico Coach Matt Woods talked about his girls’ performance on the big stage.

“This was the most successful league meet we’ve ever had,” Woods said. “In the small history of the girls team, they’ve never won a relay. And the amount of first places and great swims we had, to finish second in the league…we have eight girls here, eight girls on the roster, and what they did tonight is just phenomenal.”

And Marino led the charge.

The junior won individual golds in both the 200 free (1:54.09) and 100 back (58.95) while anchoring both the 400 free relay and the 200 free relay (1:41.56) to wins.

“As a team, this is more than we could have ever expected,” Marino said following the meet. “We are a team of eight girls so to come out here and compete with teams that have 30-plus girls, that’s just amazing and definitely more than we could ever ask for.”

As for her impressive night, Marino added, “Coming into the season (winning four gold medals) was my goal. My goal was to come in here and win. That’s what I was looking forward to, and I came in here just hoping for the best.”

In addition to Marino, Evans and Haines both were standouts as well. Evans, a junior, captured first place in the 200 IM with a time of 2:10.15, and took second in the 500 free with a time of 5:09.29. Haines,a freshman, earned a fourth place medal in the 100 free (54.75) and was fifth in the 50 free with a time of 25.35.

Both Evans and Haines were crucial to the two relays wins as well. After getting out-touched at the end of the grueling 500 free, Evans got back in the pool minutes later and got her team a lead before Haines increased it by a length with a 24.70 split before Marino brought it home. In the 400, Evans got Cocalico into second place and within striking distance before Haines closed the gap to a half length before handing things off to Marino to close out the night.

“Sid, Sam and Morgan are just unbelievable swimmers,” Woods said of his trio. “They compete so well. They love to race and love challenges. I think we have the three best girls in the league. They are positive, upbeat and they are enthusiastic. They are definitely fun to have around.”

Asked if he felt the 400 was in good hands when Marino jumped in the pool, he added, “Absolutely. The girl from Township went like 53 flat in the 100 free and you knew she was coming. We talked a little before the race to just give Sam a chance. Lydia had a great split, Sid caught up and Morgan swam an unbelievable first lap. That was her best split I think ever. She just swam out of her mind. It was just unreal.”

Marino was the third seed in the 100 back but led from start to finish to win by a full length over Garden Spot’s Autumn Shaffer (59.81). In the 200 free, Marino (2:00.48) was seeded second coming in behind Donegal’s Sydney Warehame (1:58.96). However, with two laps to go, Marino sprinted to the lead and defeated Warehame by a full length, taking six seconds off her seed time.

“At Districts last year I went 1:52 so I knew coming in here I wanted to see what I could do,” she said of the 200 free win. “I wanted to get as close to that time as I possibly could, but that was better than I ever expected.”

“She swam unreal,” Woods said of Marino. “Tonight is probably the best she’s looked in the entire season. I think winning that 200 free and swimming as well as she did was huge for confidence. She’s a big meet swimmer and she swam well. She’s fun to watch race.”

Asked to some up what was an amazing night for his team, Woods said, “It’s cool to be a part of because by this point, as a coach I can’t say anything or do anything for them. It’s them. They do it. They get their minds right and do what they have to do, and for all of them to just swim well is fun and exciting and they deserve it.”

Ephrata also competed but did not score any team points.

Lititz Rec also played host to the L-L Boys Meet on Saturday afternoon where Cocalico placed a solid sixth overall with 35 points on the day.

Senior Collin Haines led the way for the Eagles earning four medals on the day. In the 50 free, Haines finished a close second to Hempfield’s Kristian Voulopos (22.07) with a time of 22.35. Haines did upset Manheim Township’s Dan Ross, who placed third with a time of 22.44. Haines added a third place finish in the 100 free (48.58) and anchored the 400 free relay to a third-place medal (3:25.04) and the 200 free relays to fifth place with a time of 1:33.81.

“Collin had a great meet,” Woods said of Haines. “This biggest thing for him in sprints, and for anyone, is that start. His start was fantastic in both, and he did a good job of staying relaxed and on top of the water. He looked great. He looked really good in the relays as well. His split in the 400 free relay was a 47.9 which is the fastest split I’ve seen from him, and he reeled in two teams in his leg. It was a very impressive swim. Hopefully he carries that momentum into next week and he can get on that podium at districts.”

Joining Haines on the 400 free relay were Jake Ilgenfritz, Jake Keifer and Eric Guthridge. Ilgenfritz, Keifer and Logan Ilgenfritz were members of the 200 free relay with Haines.

Ephrata also competed but did not score any team points.

Up next, the swimmers will begin preparation for the District Three Meet which is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1 at Cumberland Valley High School.

Todd Ruth is the sports editor for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at or at 721-4422

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