Episcopal Academy again proves itself in medley relay

PHILADELPHIA — The relay conversations for the Episcopal Academy girls team are always preceded with one given: When it comes time for allocating relay resources, the medley is always a priority.

For the fourth straight year, the Churchwomen reinforced why that is the case.

The team of Emma Seiberlich, McKenzie Street, Sarah Baturka and Rachael Farmer blitzed the field Friday, coasting to victory in 1 minute, 46.59 seconds to start the Eastern Interscholastic Championships on a high note, winning the opening relay for a fourth straight year.

“It’s cool that it’s something that EA is really known for,’ said Seiberlich, who accumulated a lead in backstroke that EA never threatened to lose. “We’ve won it for so many years in a row. It’s a cool feeling to know that no one can really touch us in the medley.’

That same squad came back to finish third in the 200 freestyle relay after some individual triumphs, which begin with Seiberlich.

Much like many of her teammates, there were a variety of options for the reigning Daily Times swimmer of the year to opt for event-wise. She went with the 100 butterfly, and it paid off as she controlled the field and produced a composed, authoritative swim to win in 54.80 seconds. That time is just .02 slower than the county record set by former teammate Emily Rhodes.

“I’ve been training a lot of fly this last year,’ Seiberlich said. “I know I’ve put in the work, and usually when I get in the water, I just let my body take over. I know I just have to keep it smooth and keep it clean.’

Baturka finished second in the 200 individual medley, over five seconds slower than Germantown Academy’s Madison Visco. Farmer held her own in the final of the 50 free, taking fifth in an event where EA found bonus points through Maddie O’Reilly and Maddie Cook sneaking into the B and C finals, respectively. Street took fifth in the 100 fly to support Seiberlich.

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The discussion between senior Ben Nelligan and his Haverford School coaches didn’t last long. The butterfly/sprint freestyle specialist admits to possessing a narrow range in the pool, so when the Easterns psych sheets revealed a very deep 100 free field, Nelligan looked at the prospect of swimming the 50 free and 100 fly back-to-back and figured, “We might as well. It’s my last Easterns. I figured I’d throw out everything I got.’

That furnished an exhausting evening for the senior, who finished 11th in both events about 15 minutes apart.

Nelligan, who qualified 11th from morning prelims in the 50 free, held his seeding there, clocking in slightly slower at 22.01 seconds in the final. There was a price to pay for that effort, though, and Nelligan was a half-second slower from the morning to the evening in the 100 fly, dropping from ninth to 11th in 52.38.

“I felt great the first 50 yards (of fly), and it was just downhill from there,’ Nelligan said. “The last 10 yards were the works. But you swim what you can swim. I couldn’t be happier with how my team swam. And it’s not me swimming for myself; it’s all about the team.’

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At various points of the evening, the names of both Notre Dame and Agnes Irwin found their way on the board displaying the top six of the team standings. Even if it’s unlikely to last, it’s indicative of the quality both possess.

Notre Dame’s Kaitlin Perni and Adelaide Lennon were fifth and 12th in the 200 IM, respectively, while Michaela McGeary took sixth in the 200 free for the Irish, who sit seventh midway through the meet.

Agnes Irwin’s point total, which stands fifth after one day, was buoyed by Marin Bloise’s diving win. Riley Flick reinforced that it was no one-off thanks to her fourth-place finish in the 100 fly, while Maddie Aguirre threatened to shock the field with some outside smoke, settling for fourth place from lane 1 of the 200 IM A final.

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