Octorara family thrives at districts

Philadelphia — Octorara’s girls swim team is not like your normal high school squad. For starters they only have two swimmers. On top of that, the team holds a very unique and special bond. They are all related.

The team is made up of Madison Oster, and her sister Amanda, and they are coached by their mother Amy Oster.

On Friday afternoon, Amanda and Madison swam in the District 1 Class AA Championships. Amanda took 15th in the 100-yard breaststroke, while Madison pulled off an enormous upset, taking first place in the 500 freestyle.

“I tried to stay with the lead throughout the race,’ Madison said. “At the end I just gave it all I had.’

The senior was positioned all the way in the furthest lane, and was competing against five other swimmers who all posted faster times throughout the regular season. That didn’t stop her, as she pulled past the pack and finished with a time of 4:59.81. Second place finisher Grace Kowal (Nazareth Academy) finished seventy-two one hundredths of a second behind her.

“This feels really good, Madison said. “I was kind of nervous before the race but just tried my best and I’m happy I was able to win.’

Her performance did not just bring pride to her school but to her family. Cheering every step along the way was her mom and her sister.

“I am so proud of her,’ Amy said. “They both work so hard and to see them qualify for districts this year was really special. It is great to see all their work has paid off.’

The girls’ success has been no fluke. They have been practicing together everyday after school at a local YMCA for the past two seasons.

“I think it helps that we work together,’ Amanda said. “We both push each other and we are there for one another.’

Swimming has been in the family roots going back to Amanda and Madison’s grandmother Ellen Grace.

They are terrific girls,’ Grace said with a huge smile on her face. “I couldn’t be happier for them and what they did today.’

Amanda will return next season for her senior year. While Madison will close out her high school swimming career in less than two weeks when she competes in the 500 freestyle in the PIAA Championships at Bucknell University.

“Today definitely gave me some confidence,’ Madison said. “I just need to keep working hard and hopefully I continue to get better.’

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