Lexi Fink got off to a slow start on Thursday night.
After a miscue at the start of the 200-yard individual medley, the Elizabethtown senior was the last one off the blocks in the Bears’ Section Two swim meet against Ephrata. The delay made no difference once she hit the water, however, as Fink pushed past the field to win by nearly two seconds.
She posted another first-place time in the 100 breaststroke and, just one event later, Elizabethtown found itself in first-place overall.
Holding on for an 88-82 victory, the Bears dealt Ephrata its first section loss in four years.
There would be no sweep, however, as the Ephrata boys pulled out a 100-70 victory to maintain a grasp on the top spot in the section and a chance at the squad’s first championship.
“Ephrata last year had our number, but tonight we came motivated,” Elizabethtown coach Chad Houck said of his team’s mindset following Tuesday’s loss to L-S. “Last night at practice, we got our heads right. They knew the things that they needed to do, the close races and the B relays were huge — those swing points in a six-point meet were gigantic. I’m really impressed with the way our girls came out and swam tonight.”
E-town (2-1, 5-3) started the girls meet strong, with the team of Gabby Walsh, Fink, Emmy Kriner and Sierra Kapcsos pulling away in the 200 medley relay. The Bears also took first and third in the 200 IM, but Ephrata (2-1, 3-3) pulled even 31-31 after the 50 freestyle.
Mary Campbell (26.68) edged teammate Maddy Fritz in the sprint after Alyssa Fedorshak (2:05.42) earned a nearly seven-second win in the 200 freestyle. Anya Emmerling (5:46.55) added a six-second win in the 500 freestyle and the Mounts won both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, but it wasn’t enough to keep the three-time defending section champions in the lead.
“The E-town girls came to bring it,” Ephrata coach Mickey Molchany said with a laugh. “Going into the meet, we said that there’s not a whole lot of room for errors and every close race, E-town got us. They really wanted us. They had something to prove and we had the target on our back. It was only a matter of time.”
The Ephrata boys (3-0, 5-1) entered Elizabethtown College’s Alumni Pool with a little extra motivation of their own on Thursday.
Colby Simes earned a pair of wins, taking the 200 freestyle (1:56.76) by nearly nine seconds before cruising to a 13-second win in the 500 freestyle (5:21.10). The Mounts also swept the 200 IM, led by Lucas Knopsnyder (2:07.37).
“The boys were talking at a summer practice and were like ‘we think we can do it,’ and it started there,” Molchany said. “They’ve watched the girls have all the success while they’ve had like nine people in the water. It’s about time for them.”
E-town (2-1, 5-3) took the lead early, coming from behind to win the 200 medley relay, but fell behind by four points following the 50 freestyle and couldn’t close the gap.
Ben Azzalina won the event with a season-best time of 21.94 for the Bears before taking the 100 backstroke in 56.16.