Neither McCaskey nor Lancaster Catholic has a ton of swimmers. In fact, filling lanes is a challenge for both squads.
But that doesn’t affect the atmosphere whatsoever. After all, it was still a swim meet.
When the teams faced each other Tuesday, cheering from teammates, coaches and fans in the balcony echoed through the natatorium at Franklin & Marshall College.
“It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, we come together and do our best,” Red Tornado senior Max Brewster said. “Rooting for individual success is the main thing for us.”
Both teams found success in Tuesday’s crossover meet, won by McCaskey — 73-56 in the boys meet and 88-63 in the girls.
Drew Keener won a pair of individual races for the Tornado, taking the honors in the 200-yard individual medley (2:16.84) and 100 butterfly (58.97). The senior’s butterfly victory helped McCaskey open a 36-23 lead midway through the meet.
Alexa Alhadeff earned a pair of wins for the Tornado with a 2:20.22 in the 200 freestyle and her 100 butterfly swim of 1:14.14.
“They do a great job and they just have a lot of fun,” McCaskey coach Suzie Holubek said. “My kids have fun cheering each other on, supporting each other and getting better every meet. When we get an opportunity to shine and do well, it has been nice.”
Scott Moore won the 200 and 500 freestyle events in 2:04.97 and 5:49.13 respectively for the Lancaster Catholic boys.
Addison Elliott scored a pair of wins for the Crusaders girls, taking the 200 individual medley (2:37.57) and 100 backstroke (1:11.13).
Lancaster Catholic coach Matt DePietro was pleased with the improvement his small group keeps showing.
“It doesn’t matter how big or how small your team is, all you need is the right person that wants to put the work in,” he said. “We didn’t make any plans on winning this. We didn’t know if we could or not, but we focused on one event at a time and people getting better.
“Doing something objective in the pool, saying wow, ‘I just dropped five seconds.’ Then the look on their face tells you all the hard work was worth it. That happened like crazy tonight. I think everybody had a best time.”
With the biggest girls team during her six years at McCaskey, Holubek is seeing team success as well.
The Tornado girls have topped Manheim Central, Cocalico and now Lancaster Catholic.
“It’s more fun for the kids to have competition in lanes next to them and not get discouraged because they do put in hard work every day, just like the big teams,” she said.
Tuesday’s loudest cheers came during the final race – the boys 400 free relay – when Crusaders anchor CT Schroeder battled to fight off a fast-charging Brewster to win by less than a second (.93).
“Just knowing they are going out and trying their best and that last relay was an example of that,” said Brewster. “It doesn’t matter the size of the team. Each event is its own race. Parents are cheering on their kids, we are cheering for our success for our team. It’s just a great atmosphere when everyone is swimming their hardest.”