Ryan Smecker knew the score when he approached the blocks for the boys 500-yard freestyle. If he didn’t know it, Lampeter-Strasburg coach Kylie Turner was quick to remind him.
Cocalico had just tied Thursday’s swim meet on Robert Gehman’s 100 free victory — the senior’s second win of the night — after seven events.
However, Smecker, a sophomore, was ready for the challenge. He and teammate Nathan Eberly staged an epic battle throughout the 10 laps, with Smecker pulling away at the end to clock a winning 5:37.98.
The points edge put the Pioneers ahead, and the L-S boys went on to an 83-72 win in the L-L League Section Two meet.
“I did know the score,” Smecker said. “I did know (Eberly) was there. (I) just had to stay with him,”
Turner had told both swimmers that it was 46-all prior to the race.
“I knew what possibly Cocalico was putting out there,” she said. “They ended up only putting out one swimmer, so that helped us tremendously.”
The Pioneer girls also won, 132-36, at the Lampeter-Strasburg YMCA in what Turner said was a great rebound from Tuesday’s disappointing meet against Ephrata.
“We were coming off a double loss from Ephrata on Tuesday, which was heartbreaking,” Turner said. “But when they come together, this is what you get, especially for the boys. I told the team after Ephrata, ‘We move on. Tomorrow is a new day.’
“We really reset in practice yesterday and today was a new meet,” she continued. “They knew it was going to be close going in. We haven’t beaten Cocalico since I don’t even know how long.”
Once in the lead, Lampeter-Strasburg took the 200 free relay honors and Smecker followed with a 1:09.45 for a big 100 backstroke win, and Mitchell Livengood’s 1:15.99 victory in the 100 breaststroke secured the boys’ meet.
Another sophomore, Kyle Spaulding, not only teamed with Smecker, Eberly and Andrew Reidenbaugh in the medley and 200 free relays, but won a pair of individual events, the 200 free (2:02.33) and 100 butterfly (1:05.48).
“Basically, this season if you’ve got some numbers and four solid boys that can go fast, this is exactly what happens,” Turner said.
Still, Cocalico coach Wendy Enck liked the way the Eagles battled.
“We’ve run out of numbers,” she said. “I only have nine on the squad this year. I lost some unfortunately because of COVID, so we were down. But with nine swimmers we were competitive.
“What we don’t have in numbers we make up in heart, every night. Some of our swims tonight were best times so you can’t beat it. I am really happy about it.”
In all, 10 different girls were a part of winning races for the Pioneers. Kara Scranton (butterfly, 1:05.48 and backstroke, 1:09.45) and Elizabeth Horner (50 free, 27.38 and breaststroke, 1:13.81) grabbed two victories, plus teamed with Bre Fluhr and Zara Paisley to win the 200 free relay.
The tone was set early as the Pioneers swept the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle behind the freshman Paisley’s 2:11.08.
Rylee Nedimyer scored Cocalico’s lone girls win with her 2:36.17 in the 200 individual medley, but Lampeter-Strasburg too the next three spots. One event later, Horner led a sweep in the 50 free.