NEWTOWN SQUARE >> Amid the hooting and hollering, Ben Baturka had some bad news to deliver to Alex Sumner.
A senior in his fifth season on varsity, the Episcopal Academy All-Delco Baturka shared a little truth with the sophomore standout and the others making their varsity debuts Tuesday. This, he said, was about as meaningful a dual meet as you’ll ever be involved in at the high school level.
EA made history with wins over Germantown Academy — 101-85 on the girls side and 96-89 for the boys — the first time the school has swept out its rivals in the same meet.
While the boys have had a smattering of wins over GA through the years, this is just the second in a half-century for the EA girls over the GA powerhouse, the last coming in 2009.
Hence the sense of history that EA’s veterans made sure to pass on to the rest of the group.
“This is huge,” Baturka said. “This is probably a legendary night for the program.”
“Our goal of this season has always been to be Inter-Ac champs,” said senior Sarah Baturka. “So I think getting a win against a big team like GA out of the way already just sets the tone for the rest of the season. I think all of the girls know that the ultimate goal is Easterns and that our focus should be on Easterns, but it’s nice that we got a really hard win to set the tone and drive us toward the rest of the year.”
The times indicated that both teams were ready to go in their season debuts. Sumner, a sophomore who attended, but didn’t swim for Strath Haven last season, eased to victory in the girls 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke in extremely quick times of 2:06.51 and 56.16, respectively, each narrowly missing pool records in her Burke Natatorium debut.
She also swam legs on the winning 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Sumner was quickly indoctrinated into the years of history between the schools.
“Some kids from my club team (Suburban) have been swimming for EA, and I would hear them talking about how they’ve been swimming against GA,” she said. “And when practices first started this season, coach (Brian) Kline talked about how we have to get ready for GA, that kind of brought me up to speed that we have to be really excited about this.”
She wasn’t the only one swimming to meet the pressure of the occasion. Emma Seiberlich won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, the former with an impressive come-from-behind effort to nip Karlee Carminati to the wall.
Sarah Baturka took care of business in her events, the 50 and 100 free, and Sally Stockett, a freshman in her first varsity meet, took a 1-2 in the 100 breaststroke with Nikki Cannon to get EA to the magic number of 93 points. Even Hadley DeBruyn, another new face in the EA arsenal, disrupted GA’s distance dominance by finishing second to Carminati in the 500.
The boys side was more a product of EA’s depth. GA, so long known for its distance prowess, asserted itself in the sprints. Jimmy Parker and Greg Callahan went 1-2 in the 50, tied for second in the 100 and set a pool record of 1:28.37 in the 200 free relay.
“We went in not really expecting to do that, but we looked up, saw 1:29 and thought that was possible (to break the record),” Callahan said. “And we just went out and did it.”
The rest was up to EA. Andrew Owsiany threw down a massive score of 352.05 in diving. Ben Baturka claimed the 100 fly and 100 back, the former in a pool record of 52.74 seconds. Sam Hawke won the 100 free, Ivan Puskovitch the 500 and George Maltby the 100 breast to seal a special result.
The celebration on the deck, especially from the girls side, was muted. Though the meet didn’t lack for intensity, EA’s win brought a sense of culmination. They’d nipped at GA’s heels for years without breaking through, as that program underwent a transition away from the half-century stewardship of legendary coach Dick Shoulberg and many of those loyal to him.
So EA’s reaction to the victory, sealed without consternation after breaststroke, was more a reflection of how high the expectations at EA have risen.
“It means a lot,” Sarah Baturka said. “I’ve been with this team since eighth grade, so I know how hard it’s been these last couple years to try to gain enough momentum to dig out those really important wins in a meet. I think it just shows the potential of our team right now and where our team is going.”
In other girls swimming:
Radnor 99, Garnet Valley 82 >> Julia Cullen achieved automatic District One cuts en route to wins in the 50 free and 100 fly to pace the Raiders.
Sasha Smolyansky won the 200 and 400 free for Radnor, while Alexa Hipp claimed the 100 back for Garnet Valley.
Friends’ Select 76, Sacred Heart 69 >> Hannah Seifried claimed the 200 free and 100 fly, and Emma Seifried was quickest in the 500 and 100 breast, but the Lions fell just short in a nonleague meet.
Katy Flemming also won the 100 back for Sacred Heart.
Radnor 101, Garnet Valley 81 >> Greg Giannella ruled the sprints with district cuts in the 50 and 100 free, and Steve Chen claimed the 100 fly and 100 breast to pace the Raiders in their Central League title defense.
Garnet Valley’s Shane Scudder was fastest in the 400 free.
Bonner-Prendergast 99, Glen Mills 60 >> Theo Greiner, Luke McDevitt, Danny Dwyer and Jack Ellis won two individual events, and the Friars swept all three relays in a nonleague win.
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