Unforgettable day for Cooke, Phoenixville at PIAA Class AA Championships

Just a couple weeks after Phoenixville’s Maddie Cooke earned two gold and two silver medals at the District 1 Championships, the freshman, along with the Phantom relay teams looked as though they weren’t satisfied just yet as the girls took the blocks at the PIAA Class AA Swimming & Diving Championships at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium Friday.

The Phoenixville relay, consisting of senior Shawna Moore and freshmen Cooke, Kathryn Bland and Emily Fabius, won two medals on the day including silver in the 200-yard free relay and bronze in the 200 medley relay.

“As a team, we did exactly what we came to do,’ said Moore. “We dropped our time, and swam one of our best races. I’m so proud of what we did.’

Along with her silver and bronze relay medals, Cooke also won bronze in the 50 free where she touched at 23.63. Although she was the fifth-seed following the preliminaries, she knew there was something special going into the race.

“Just like in districts, I could tell it was going to be a great race as soon as I dove in,’ she said. “I was in my zone, something that I try to do before every swim. I was just ready to perform, ready to dive in.’

Leading up to states, Cooke admits that she has felt a lot of pressure over the past few days. But for the freshman, it was just another chance to perform on a big stage.

“Coming into today, I was definitely nervous about how I would perform,’ Cooke said. “But when I got here today, the nerves turned into excitement. I was so ready to go.’

The Phantoms looked ready to go earning a bronze in the first event, the 200 medley relay, and cutting nearly eight-tenths of a second off their preliminary time. The bronze relay finished with a time of 1:49.06, which gave the girls a new school record.

Phoenixville then earned the silver medal in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:38.12.

For Cooke, the key to her success has been Moore, working hard in the pool alongside her all season.

“Shawna has been such a great leader and teammate to us freshmen,’ said Cooke. “She’s taught me the importance of hard work and dedication as a swimmer. Every practice she has always kept me motivated.’

According to Phoenixville head coach Dan Weinstein, Moore, the lone senior on the Phantom relay team, has provided Phoenixville with a true sense of leadership, especially during the hardest days of the season.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way these girls have blended under Shawna’s leadership,’ he said. “She has set such a great example for them to follow all season long, and I’m so ecstatic with how things turned out for them.’

Still, Weinstein admits that the girls’ success is something that goes beyond what he has done this season.

“Their success is really a testament to the hard work of their YMCA coaches and the support of their parents over the years,’ he said. “They drive their kids all over the state of Pennsylvania and have been so dedicated to the girls’ success.’

For Moore, the thing that has brought this team together throughout the season has been a sense of camaraderie and sisterhood as teammates.

“These girls have been so dedicated and so inspiring to be around,’ the senior said. “All season, no matter how tired we were, or how ready we were to give up, we could always look to each other for inspiration.’

After the first day of states, the Phantoms find themselves in second place. As a team of just four girls competing at states, Phoenixville has shown the importance of quality over quantity.

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Cooke will look to have similar success on Saturday where is the second-seed in the 100 breaststroke after breaking a district record at 1:04.62. Moore will compete for the last time as a Phantom in the 100 free, where she placed sixth at districts touching at 55.27.

Kirsten Siwy of Upper Perkiomen will also compete in the 100 free on Saturday.

On the boys’ side, Upper Perkiomen’s Brandon Umstead placed 10th in the 200 IM, with a time of 1:59.57. Umstead, who won the silver in the 100 backstroke at districts, will swim in the event on Saturday.

Morgan Schreiber of Pottsgrove placed 25th in the 200 IM, touching at 2:04.37. The senior, who was golden in the 100 backstroke at districts, will look to place Saturday in the final day of states.

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