LANCASTER >> Few teams are in the position to view third place at Easterns as a stepping stone. But with so few upperclassmen contributing to Haverford School’s effort, Saturday’s result seems just that.
While impressive in its own right, even in light of taking second last year, it’s fair to wonder what lies ahead for the Fords.
Alex Boratto set a meet record in the 100 backstroke in 48.86 seconds, with teammate (and rare senior) Charlie Ryan taking fourth. Brian Brennan, a freshman was eighth in the 500, while classmate Antonio Octaviano finished third in the 100 breaststroke. Boratto, the reigning Daily Times boys swimmer of the year, remains a junior.
Octaviano’s time of 56.33 got lost in the national record set two lanes over by Penn Charter’s Reece Whitley (a mind-boggling 51.84). But the freshman posted the fourth-fastest time ever for the 13-14 age group.
“I guess it’s just more special as a freshman, just being up there with those guys, it’s an honor,” he said.
With a fantastic effort at Franklin and Marshall, the Fords own all three Delaware County relay records, securing the lone one outside their grasp Friday in erasing Strath Haven’s 2006 mark in the 200 free. Saturday, the team of Boratto, Ryan, Brennan and John Nelligan set the 400 free mark in 3:03.67. That three of those swimmers are back next year is an embarrassment of riches.
“I honestly think that getting third place, we got second last year and I’m still proud of everybody,” said Ryan, who’ll watch the program’s continued evolution from afar at Michigan State next year. “I don’t care that we got third, because I think we did our best and everyone is always so happy on the team and everyone is so close, I don’t think it matters what place we get. It’s about the team experience.”
Campbell Ratigan waited anxiously Saturday morning to see if she’d have one more individual swim left in her high school career.
When the times answered in the affirmative, she made the most of it.
The Notre Dame senior won the C final of the 100 breast from lane 1, going from 23rd seed to 17th overall. In the process, she dropped over a second from her morning swim to 1:09.04.
“I knew I just wanted to get out there and I just wanted to go for the first 50 and hold on as fast as I could,” Ratigan said. “I was just going to hold on it and press as fast as I could.”
Teammate Michaela McGeary was third in the 100 free Saturday after taking fourth in the 50 Friday. She set school records in both.
A top-six finish has become a regular occurrence for Agnes Irwin, which took that spot Saturday, a half-point behind Phillips Andover for 5th. The highlight was fourth place in the 400 free relay with the team of Emma Boratto, Myka Thomas, Maddie Aguirre and Riley Flick in a nothing-to-sneeze-at 3:33.28.
Boratto was seventh in the 500, one of three scoring Owls, while Aguirre was sixth in the 100 back.
Episcopal Academy’s Ivan Puskovitch put a scare into Matt Haigh’s Delco record in the 500 free but fell off the pace late. The sophomore went 4:30.52, taking home third place.