L-L LEAGUE BOYS' SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Mission successful Manheim Twp. takes fifth title BY PETE KAUFFMAN, Sports Writer
Instant classic. Just add water.
The 13th edition of the Lancaster-Lebanon League boys' swimming championships lived up to its billing, and then some.
The atmosphere Tuesday at the Lititz recCenter was almost as intense as the wake created when the swimmers in the blistering final heat of the 50 freestyle turned almost in unison at the wall.
When Manheim Township successfully completed the 400-yard freestyle -- in second place, no less -- the Streaks had won their third straight team title and tied Hempfield with five crowns overall.
The Blue Streaks amassed 114 points, just two shy of what they should have scored based on their seedings, to outdistance runner-up Hempfield (101) and third-place Warwick (73).
Those three teams had tied for the Section One dual-meet crown, the first three-way tie in league history.
Making history Tuesday in the meet postponed from last Friday was Garden Spot senior Andrew Schrantz, who not only defended his title in the 100 backstroke, but set a league-meet record by covering four lengths of the pool in 51.70 seconds.
That time eclipsed the 2001 L-L Meet record of 52.58 set by Manheim Central's Sam Engle. It also bettered the L-L League overall standard of 51.88 set by Cedar Crest's Cody Weik in 2007, but since Garden Spot does not sponsor a dual-meet team, its swimmers are ineligible for league-wide marks.
"I guess you could say I exceeded my expectations for the night,'' said Schrantz, who is awaiting a possible appointment to West Point.
That was quite possibly the understatement of the night, as Schrantz also repeated as champion in the 100 butterfly (51.78).
Also securing a pair of individual titles was Lancaster Catholic senior Everett Albert, who repeated in the 200 individual medley (1:56.28) and also blazed to victory in the 100 free (47.90).
"I definitely wanted to get first in both (events),'' said Albert. The 100 free finish was somewhat an oddity in that the top eight seeds finished in that exact order.
In the 200 IM, Albert was in a tight race until the breaststroke leg, when he began to pull away from the field. He ended up finishing over four seconds in front of runner-up Ethan Gehenio (2:00.88) of Northern Lebanon.
Not to be outdone, Township's own Dan Ross collected two golds as well, half of the four wins Township recorded on the night.
Ross (1:43.18) broke free from second-place Denny Atkinson (1:46.09) of Hempfield halfway through the 200 freestyle. He basically set the pace in winning the 500 free in 4:45.37, as Atkinson (4:53.76) took third behind runner-up Justin Mitchell (4:48.76) of Warwick.
Ross said he felt some pressure to do well, "but pressure's a good thing for me. I usually thrive under it.''
He was extremely happy with how his team performed. "Everybody swam exceptionally well,'' said Ross, who is flying to Florida this morning for a Grand Prix event in Orlando.
Township coach Dan Graybill, whose girls' squad won its fourth consecutive team crown and L-L League-record seventh overall title last Thursday, said he couldn't have been happier with the Streaks' performance.
"The team just really gets up for this meet,'' said Graybill. "The league championships always seem to bring out the best in the boys.''
Township put its best foot forward to start the night, as the quartet of Tyler Russell, Anthony Sciscento, Cody Kalinowski and Chris Kurtz won the 200 medley relay in 1:41.54. They just sneaked out the win over the Conestoga Valley foursome of Todd Wilson, Zayne Shelly, Chad Alshouse and Joe Reed (1:41.65).
Ross followed by taking the 200 free and Kameron Kubicki (22.09) added a win in the 50 free, which put the Streaks in front of Hempfield, 39-38, after four events.
Kubicki (53.95), Kalinowski (55.09) and Kurtz (56.79) went 2-4-7 in the 100 butterfly and, just like in their dual meet finale victory over Warwick, the Streaks got some breathing room in the team standings after that event, extending their lead over Hempfield to 53-39.
"Wasn't that kind of strange?'' Graybill said of the butterfly.
Hempfield may have been down, but the Knights certainly were not out despite that deficit.
Kristian Voulopos (48.33) and Bryson Hunter (50.78) went 2-7 in the 100 free behind Catholic's Albert, and Atkinson (4:53.53), Casey Lear (5:08.31) and Zach Bennett (5:11.13) went 3-6-7 in the 500 free to get within eight, 67-59.
The Knights' Voulopos, Hunter, Atkinson and Jordan Eichelman clocked a 1:30.73 to win the 200 free relay, edging the Township team of Kubicki, Kurtz, Zach Moeller and Ross (1:31.07), and the Knights trimmed the deficit to just four, 81-77.
The Streaks' Russell (56.07) and Andrew Switch (58.48) then went 4-5 in the 100 back behind Schrantz's impressive swim. Hempfield was shut out in the event, and Township's lead ballooned back to 13, 90-87.
A silver from Sciscento (1:02.83) and a sixth from Jonathan Hranek (1:06.45) in the 100 breaststroke behind champ Nick Beard (1:02.80) of Warwick extended the Streaks' lead to 100-83, as Hempfield got a bronze from Riley Stadel (1:03.04).
That bumped Township's lead to 100-83, with just the 400 freestyle relay remaining. Just like in the girls' meet, all the Streaks had to do was finish in the top eight to secure the team trophy.
Hempfield's Voulopos, Mitchell Hilt, Stadel and Atkinson swam to gold in 3:17.15, but the Township crew of Kubicki, Kalinowski, Russell and Ross finished second in 3:19.08, resulting in the final margin of victory for the Streaks.