West Goshen – West Chester East junior Ann Carozza has developed into one of the top high school swimmers in the state, as last March she finished fourth in the 100 fly and seventh in the 100 free at the PIAA state finals at Bucknell University.
“I clearly remember [at the state finals] being in the ready area and walking across the bulkhead with the other finalists,” said Carozza. “I remember thinking, ‘This is it and I sacrificed so many things to be here so I better make it count.’ I also felt so much excitement and my adrenalin was definitely at its highest. … [And] my favorite swimming venue is Bucknell University because it is a fast pool with all the essentials to swim fast.”
Watching proudly that day from the sidelines was the West Chester East head coach – her mother, Beth Ann Carozza.
Ironically, while Beth Ann was a star student-athlete for the Vikings three decades ago, playing for the PIAA state runner-up field hockey team in 1980, and for the District One champion girls’ lacrosse that same year, West Chester East did not have a swimming program at the time.
So Beth Ann swam for the West Chester YMCA in the winter, then went on to swim for the University of Delaware, helping the Blue Hens set some team records (200 butterfly, 200 and 400 medley relays.
Ann said, “The most important thing I have learned [about swimming] from my mom is to always stick with it and it will all pay off in the end.”
Mary Ann, whose son Joe is a three-sport freshman athlete for West Chester East (football, basketball and lacrosse), said, “It is a unique situation to have your children attend the same high school you attended and currently teach in. As I watch Ann swim, I think about how lucky I am to be such a big part of her high school experience.”
Ann Carozza began swimming as a 5 year old for Roslyn Swim Club in the summers and Golden Ram Aquatics in the winter. Her favorite event has always been the butterfly.
When asked for the key to her success in the 100 fly, Ann responded, “My turns. I really focus on coming off the wall with powerful dolphin kicks.”
The West Chester East junior also has the benefit of coaching from her cousin, David McCormick, a three-time high school state champion in 100 breaststroke and 200 and 400 freestyle relays who went on to earn NCAA Division II All American honors when he finished third in the 400 IM at the Division II nationals. McCormick, a math teacher at West Chester East, is in his second year as an assistant coach for the Vikings.
Beth Ann Carozza said, “David brings great knowledge of each stroke, and a level of excitement that the kids all respond to. He is able to speak to the current requirements of a student-athlete at the college level. It’s nice to have another coach in the building.”
Ann said, “The biggest benefit of having my cousin as a coach has definitely been his knowledge and experience from his [own] career. This has helped me when it matters the most at districts and states.”
A six-time finalist at Speedo Short Course Super Sectionals, Ann typically trains six days a week for 2-3 hours per day. She joins her club team, Golden Ram Aquatics, for dryland training three days a week at High Performance Athletic Training Center, when the West Chester East swimming team is not in season. Currently, Ann has been concentrating on her technique and reaction time to get off the starting blocks faster.
While the West Chester East junior plans to swim for a college program, she has not yet committed to a college yet. She would like to major in Secondary Education and Special Education – and she would like to be a swim coach.