PIAA CLASS AAA SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS: Sense of timing - LancasterOnline: Sports

PIAA CLASS AAA SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS: Sense of timing

Warwick’s Cameron has lofty goals in mind

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Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012 9:03 pm | Updated: 11:23 am, Fri Nov 1, 2013.

Just a minute.

How often have you heard that from a typical teenager?

They'll be down for dinner or ready for school … in just a minute.

While not your average teenager, Emily Cameron is asking for … just a minute.

The Warwick junior is hoping to cover four lengths of the Kinney Natatorium pool … in just a minute.

That's while swimming breaststroke in this week's PIAA Class AAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University.

"Sometimes we can all get caught up in Emily's phenomenal performances, but she is still a 16-year-old young lady with all the hopes and fears of any 'normal' young adult," Mark Daum, Warwick's swimming coach, wrote in an email.

"That being said, to her credit I have never known Emily - in any meet - never to give it her best at that time and place in her training. Since states is a rather a big stage, and Emily's passion is to compete, I'm confident she will rise to the occasion."

Cameron, who is being home-schooled this year but still swims for the Warriors, said she has some great aspirations for states.

"My goal, I guess, would be to go one-double-O," Cameron said of her dream time in the 100-yard breaststroke.

To translate, Cameron hopes to drop her time to somewhere around 1:00, or in that general vicinity.

She'll get that opportunity beginning Wednesday morning, when the two-day Class AAA state meet begins. Cameron will swim the 50-yard freestyle on that opening day, with the 100 breaststroke scheduled for Thursday.

The Class AA meet will be held Friday and Saturday, also at Bucknell.

Joining Cameron in the Class AAA field are seniors Kasey Mann (200 IM, 27th); 100 fly, 8th) from Manheim Township and Kylee Parsons (200 free, 25th; 500 free, 10th) from Ephrata.

Also, juniors Katie Diller (100 fly, 5th; 100 free, 9th) from MT, Olivia Evans (100 fly, 20th; 100 back, 10th) from Cocalico, Tess Hayward (50 free, 11th; 100 free, tied for 18th) from Elizabethtown, and Hempfield's Amber McDonnell from (200 IM, 8th) and Paige Spradling (100 breast, 20th).

Additionally, sophomores Lisa David (500 free, 22nd) from MT, Morgan Haney (50 free, 28th; 100 free, tied for 18th) from Warwick and freshman Samantha Marino (100 back, 24th) from Cocalico.

Warwick's 200 medley relay team of Cameron, junior Maddie Schouten in breast, senior Tara Freeman in fly and Haney in free is seeded sixth at 1:48.69, while the 200 free relay of Cameron, Haney, Freeman and senior Gaby Brubaker is 13th at 1:38.56.

Hempfield sophomore Brianna DiGilio is seeded 22nd in Wednesday's diving competition.

Boys participating include senior Sawyer Martin (200 free, tied for 22nd) from Cocalico; juniors Denny Atkinson (200 free, tied for 22nd) from Hempfield, Kameron Kubicki (100 fly, 11th) from MT, Cooper Lindsley (100 free, 29th) from Penn Manor and Andrew Schrantz (100 fly, 9th; 100 back, 13th) from Garden Spot.

Also, sophomores Justin Mitchell (200 free, 27th; 500 free, 24th) from Warwick and Dan Ross (200 free, 16th; 500 free, 18th) of MT.

Senior Sam Guenin, who attends Lancaster Country Day but officially competes for McCaskey, is seeded 20th in Thursday's diving event.

Cameron, a three-time state champion and one-time bronze medalist, leads the pack and boasts top seeds in both Wednesday's 50 free (23.19) and Thursday's 100 breaststroke (1:02.34).

Some have wondered why she didn't stick with the 200 individual medley, in which she is a two-time champ and lowered her own state standard to 1:57.74 a year ago, and the 100 breast, in which she won in 1:02.31 as a freshman but didn't compete in last year, but that's just not how Cameron operates.

"I'm always looking for a new challenge," Cameron said of her stroke selection. She added that she didn't really care about not getting 8 state gold medals, which would probably have been a lock if she competed in the breaststroke and IM all four seasons.

This year, she'll be pushed in the 50 by Franklin Regional sophomore Alyssa Ruffing, whose 23.36 seed time is just behind Cameron's 23.19. Also, Wilson sophomore Ali Rockett, who took silver to Cameron at districts, is No. 3 at 23.42, followed by North Allegheny senior Allie Pennetti in 23.47.

The 50 is known for its uncertainty. A bad start, a less-than-perfect turn, or even a compromised stroke - and we mean possibly just one bad arm movement in this instance - can be the difference between winning and placing eighth. The final should be decided by hundredths of a second, not even tenths.

As for the breaststroke, Pine Richland junior Kristen Murslack, whom Cameron called a good friend, is seeded second at 1:02.68, just .34 behind Cameron in 1:02.34.

If Cameron can reach that goal of finishing in about a minute, she could blast the field. If Murslack hangs tough, it could be a race right to the wall.

Daum, who's been around top-ranked swimmers for numerous years, isn't sure what to expect from Cameron. What he does know is that Cameron is a true competitor.

"Times can be ceilings sometimes, and with Emily, as we all have learned, she breaks through time and time again (no pun intended)," Daum wrote. "With Emily and other high achievers, goals are dreams not yet achieved. Emily has always had the drive, desire and determination. When she steps up to race it is just in her DNA.

"When those goals manifest themselves is not an exact science, but Casey Coble, her club coach (at Lancaster Aquatic Club), as I have said on many occasions, has done just a magnificent job of bringing her along, preparing and having her ready to be at her best when it counts the most."

What counts for some others, specifically the seniors, is that this is their last shot.

"Kasey is self-motivated and I usually have to say very little before she heads to the blocks," MT coach Dan Graybill said of Mann, his four-time state qualifier and returning bronze medalist in the 100 fly who will compete for Yale. "Kasey has a lot of natural talent and a strong will to succeed."

Martin, it turns out, was one of many local swimmers coping with illness at districts. He ended up losing about 7 pounds and never got his appetite back, according to Reading YMCA coach Kim Evans, Martin's club coach, who wrote in an email: "We are all looking forward to seeing the 'full strength Sawyer' at states."

Both she and Cocalico coach Matt Woods expressed similar thoughts on Martin's keys to success. "Not only is he extremely efficient at strokes, but he is very knowledgeable about the sport. He knows what he is doing," Woods wrote in an email.

Parsons, who will attend Georgia Southern on a partial athletic scholarship in the fall, "all in all had a great run and is one of only a few EHS swimmers that qualified for states all fours years," Barry Erb, Ephrata's coach, wrote in an email. "She has been an asset to our program and will be greatly missed next year."

pkauffman@lnpnews.com

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