L-L LEAGUE GIRLS' SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Streaks unbroken MT nabs 4th straight title BY PETE KAUFFMAN, Sports Writer
It was as intense as the final legs of the final event of the evening, when Katie Diller and Emily Cameron went head-to-head over 100 yards at the Lititz recCenter pool.
Although Cameron and her Warwick teammates touched the wall first in the meet-ending 400 freestyle relay Thursday night, it was Diller and the Manheim Township girls who kept their crown.
Sparked by two individual wins from Diller, the Blue Streaks won their fourth straight L-L League Girls' Swimming Championships title by amassing 104 points to runner-up Warwick's 90. Hempfield, which shared the 2011 title with Township, ended up third with 83.
"What was key for us was to stay positive,'' said Diller, a Princeton signee who claimed the 200 free (1:54.60) and 100 butterfly (57.72), and also teamed with Meredith Newman, Olivia Rasp and Christine Allison to win the 200 freestyle relay (1:41.30).
"It was one of the finest team efforts I've ever experienced as a coach, after overcoming adversity,'' MT's Dan Graybill said.
The longtime Blue Streaks skipper was referring to his squad earning an apparent fourth-place finish in the meet-opening 200 medley relay, only to have his foursome disqualified. Instead of earning 10 team points, Township was left with nothing.
"Starting from the very next event, we started placing three and sometimes four swimmers in each event,'' Graybill said. "It really was a communal effort by all of the girls.''
Township eventually dug itself out of that early hole, then took the lead in the team race for good when Diller was backed by a fifth-place finish from Erin Mullican (1:01.07) and a sixth from Carolyn Mann (1:02.35) in the 100 fly.
The Streaks earned 16 points in that one event, and changed a five-point deficit behind Warwick (35-30), into a 10-point lead over Hempfield (36) and 11-point advantage over the Warriors (35).
Two events later, Emily Mann (5:21.04), Sarah Wolfe (5:22.31), Lisa David (5:22.72) and Sloane Hauck (5:30.13) finished fifth through eighth in the 500 free, and the Streaks had 63 points to Hempfield's 49 and Warwick's 46.
"We had some amazing time drops in that event,'' Diller said of her teammates' times. "Our depth is amazing, and we showed it there, but getting all of those points was a very unexpected addition.''
Township added the win in the 200 relay to bump its total to 81, got a sixth from eighth-seeded Samantha Kegel (1:02.35) in the 100 backstroke for 84, a third from fourth-seeded Hayley Sturla (1:09.76) in the 100 breaststroke to go to 90, then a second from the quartet of Emily Mann, Newman, Wolfe and Diller (3:41.77) in the 400 free relay for its final points.
Also scoring for the Streaks, who won the Section One dual-meet crown, were Kegel (sixth, 2:17.14), Mullican (seventh, 2:17.86) and Carolyn Mann (eighth, 2:19.95) in the 200 individual medley, and Newman, third in the 50 free in 24.37 and second in the 100 free in 53.63.
"We've won (leagues) before, and we really wanted to validate our section title,'' said Diller, whose team edged Hempfield 95-91 when the Knights' 400 relay was disqualified.
"Look, DQ's are part of swimming. Hempfield got (disqualified) in our dual meet, and we got (disqualified) at leagues. You just have to push past it. We were able to push past it.''
No one, however, was able to push past Cameron, who won her sixth and seventh individual L-L League Meet gold medals. A Georgia recruit, Cameron won the 50 free in a meet-record 23.82, then claimed the 100 back in 58.18.
She missed out on setting a Warriors team record in the 100 back by just .06 seconds, as Emily Eidemiller's standard of 58.12 from 2008 remains the only individual Warwick team record without Cameron's name beside the event.
Cameron, as is her custom, said she was more excited about teaming with Emily Wyand, Emily Griest and Morgan Haney to win in the 400 free relay in a blazing 3:38.76.
"We wanted to beat Hempfield, obviously, and our adrenaline was pumping,'' Cameron said. "Once I get my adrenaline pumping like it was, it might be over.''
Cameron said that Warriors coach Mark Daum told his foursome that if they beat Hempfield in the 400 relay, they would finish in second place in the team standings. Going into the final event, MT had 90 points and just needed to place in the top eight to earn the team trophy, while Hempfield had 73 points and Warwick 72.
Warwick not only beat the Knights (fourth, 3:43.84), the Warriors beat everyone, which, Cameron said, gave them their highest finish ever at leagues.
"I'm not an emotional person,'' Cameron said, "but I got teary-eyed getting ready to swim back(stroke). Then, with this relay, watching those girls do what they did -- all of the girls swam faster than they were expected -- I was in tears when we won.''
Cameron, Maddie Schouten, Briana Olivieri and Morgan Haney won the 200 medley relay in 1:51.45, successfully defending their title but not quite matching last year's league-meet record time of 1:50.24.
While the night ultimately belonged to the Streaks, the Knights certainly made their presence felt.
Amber McDonnell swam away from the field to win the 200 individual medley in 2:07.63, almost six full seconds ahead of runner-up Sidney Evans of Cocalico (2:13.18).
Paige Spradling won the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.83, pulling away from 2012 champion Maddie Schouten (1:09.40) of Warwick over the final 25 yards.
Elizabethtown's Tess Hayward stormed from the fourth seed to claim the 100 freestyle in 52.79. The top seed in the 50, Hayward (24.20) was nipped by Cameron in that event.
Manheim Central's Paige Daniel also repeated as league-meet champion in the 500 free, clocking a 5:10.30 this year, after going 5:11.59 in 2012.
The boys' meet is scheduled for 7 tonight, also at the Lititz recCenter. If inclement weather forces the postponement of the meet, it will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Lititz.