GRATERFORD >> Phoenixville’s Erini Pappas and Owen J. Roberts’ Mikayla Niness led the way as the girls took center stage to conclude the three-day Pioneer Athletic Conference Championships Saturday at Perkiomen Valley High School
Erini Pappas won two individual events, the 200-yard IM (2:10.22) and the 100-yard butterfly (:57.31). She picked up another gold medal by swimming the third leg on the Phantoms’ victorious 200-yard medley relay that opened the meet with a win in 1:50.76.
There she was joined by Katya Hayward, Sarah McCarthy and Sarah Ritter on the anchor.
Erini Pappas also swam the third leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay that placed second to earn a silver medal. Ritter, Penelope Pappas, Erini Pappas and Hayward on the anchor were timed at 1:41.85.
Boyertown won the 200 free relay with Emily Drabick, Grace McKee, Angie Nelson and anchor Gabrielle McKee clocked at 1:41.06.
OJR’s Niness captured gold in the 50-yard freestyle (24.33) and 100-yard freestyle (53.25). She also swam the anchor leg on the Wildcats’ 200 medley relay that finished second with a time of 1:51.23.
Niness helped lead coach Kevin Bott’s crew to the PAC girls title this season.
Niness was joined on the 200 medley relay quartet by Lauren Zelinske, Lilia Crew and Abbey Malmstrom.
Phoenixville coach Dan Weinstein spoke about Erini Pappas and the rest of his talented swimmers.
“Erini is the reigning Swimmer of the Year,” said Weinstein “She went gold, gold, gold and silver with two individual events and two relays.
“The girls replicated what the boys did last night. They won the medley relay and then took second in the (200) free relay. The boys laid down the challenge, and the girls answered the call.”
Weinstein was excited about the performances of his entire team.
“It was fantastic from top to bottom,” said Weinstein.
He said Phoenixville had six time drops in the 500-yard freestyle from a group that included Evelyn Casaday (fifth, 5:39.52), Sara Filipovski, Christina Traficanti, Ciara Littleton and Julia Hihi.
“You had 40 swimmers who may have had their season best or lifetime best,” said Weinstein.
“You see the way the teams support each other. They are excited about finishing first or second in their heat. That won’t get you to districts, but it is exciting.”
Phoenixville’s Penelope Pappas swam the third leg of the fourth-place 200 medley relay. She also swam the 50 freestyle. She placed second in the 100 backstroke in 1:01.35.
Sarah McCarthy was third in the 100 breaststroke behind Drawback and Upper Merion’s Lindsay Yuen (1:09.45).
Bott talked about his Owen J. Roberts team, which made a mark despite swimming different events.
“Overall, I thought we had a decent meet,” said Bott “Some kids had the opportunity to swim different events and qualify for the postseason.
“The kids had fun. It was an exciting meet for everyone and all the teams.”
Bott had kind words for Niness.
“She loves to race, and she enjoys the opportunity to compete whenever she can,” said Bott. “She’s excited about moving forward.”
Perkiomen Valley’s Emily Hinz won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:59.30.
Boyertown picked up two victories in the 200 freestyle relay (1:41.06) and 400 free relay that closed the meet with a 3:41.10. That team consisted of Grace McKee, Emily Drabick, Hannah Shaner and Gabrielle McKee.
Drabick also earned gold in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.18) in an event that was right before the 400 free relay.
Spring-Ford’s Emma Thomas won the 500 freestyle in 5:27.36. The Rams went 1-2 in that event with Anna Curran taking second place (5:30.45).
OJR’s Lauren Zelinske finished first in the 100 backstroke (1:00.11).
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