Swimmers look to make big splash at L-L Meet
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Lacking the depth of some of the bigger schools, both Cocalico and Ephrata probably don’t have enough bodies to challenge in the team standings at the L-L League Swimming Championships.
Therefore, both squads enter leagues more focused on performing well in the individual events than the overall team performance.
"We expect to have some strong performances from our swimmers and see time drops in all events that will be swam," Ephrata Coach Ross Spangler said Monday. "We have the goal of having our girls 200 free and/or 400 free relay making districts along with several individual swimmers making district cuts."
Cocalico Coach Matt Woods, whose girls team recently wrapped up its second straight Section Two title, shared similar thoughts on his team.
"It’s tough to really gauge team goals or expectations going into a meet like this," Woods said. "Obviously we don’t have the depth that a Township or Hempfield has so a team title at this meet isn’t in the cards. For us this meet is more about individual best times, kids either ending the season on a high note, or getting a better time and some confidence going into districts. As a coach you want that first relay or individual event to go well, and then is seem like everyone just builds off that momentum and rolls."
Cocalico should pack plenty of firepower with the numbers it has, heading into the meet, which will be held Thursday (girls) and Friday (boys) at the Lititz Rec Center (7 p.m. both nights).
On the boys’ side, junior Collin Haines has earned a pair of seeds to lead the way for the Eagle boys. He is seeded third in the 200 I.M. (2:03.58) and is fifth in the 100 free (49.69).
Woods said the potential for Haines to have a big post-season is there.
"I’m excited for him," Woods said. "Physically he has always been able to swim at a high level, but I think the difference this year is mentally he is confident and believes he can compete at a high level. I think top three finishes in both events are definite possibilities for him."
On the girls’ side, the Lady Eagles have earned a number of high seeds heading into the meet. Sisters Olivia and Sidney Evans lead the way with two individual top seeds each.
Olivia Evans is seeded second in the 100 back (1:00.25) and trails only top-seeded Emily Cameron (58.75) of Warwick, a five-time State gold medalist who will be headed to the University of Georgia in the fall. Olivia also is seeded third in the 100 fly (1:00.00).
Sidney Evans also claimed a second and third seed. She is second in the 500 free (5:18.25) and third in the 200 I.M. (2:15.25).
"I think the race I am looking forward to the most is the 100 back," Woods said. "If anyone can give Emily Cameron a run for her money I think Liv can do it in that event. It is going to take a great effort from her but I know she is up for it. Sid has looked great in IM all year but I think she’s going to have a lot of success in the 500 this post season. She hasn’t run into anyone to really push her during the season, and her times still continued to drop. That final heat is going to be fast and I’m excited to see what she can do."
Also earning top six seeds for Cocalico are: Sam Marino, third in the 200 free (1:58.41); Layne Gable, fifth in the 100 fly (1:02.76); the 400 free relay, third (3:46.54); and the 200 medley relay, fourth (1:55.59).
"I’m really excited for our relays," Woods said. "I think if the girls put together best times they could win the medley or 400 free. I think the boys are going to surprise themselves in the relays and drop some time and medal as well. The other swimmer that I know is going to do some damage is Samantha Marino. She’s a big meet swimmer."
Ephrata has some big meet swimmers as well, and the girls 200 free relay of Kyra Valent, Katie Zell, Madison Walmer and Paige Hammaker may be its best bet to grab a medal this weekend.
The team is seeded sixth with a time of 1:48.25.
"(They are) a team of all senior girls who have good potential to make districts this year," Spangler said. "Three of the four (all but Hammaker) are from the same relay team that made districts in this event last year."
While the 200 free relay is the Lady Mounts’ lone top six seed, Spangler mentioned Zell, who has been slowly coming back from a shoulder injury, as a possibly medalist in both the 200 I.M. and 100 breast, as well as Valent in the 200 free and 500 free.
The post-season will continue with the District Three Meet to be held Mar. 1-2 at Cumberland Valley High School. More SWIMMERS, page B-3