Draves-led Boyertown splits with Phoenixville

SCHUYLKILL >> Bill Draves is in his first season as the Boyertown High School boys and girls swimming coach. However, he is hardly a new name in area swimming coaching circles.

Draves has been coaching swimming for roughly 30 years around these parts, particularly at the Boyertown Area YMCA, while working with different age groups. His own family includes children who have reached some of the highest levels of the sport. This season, though, Draves also has the title of winter head coach for the Bears.

Boyertown's Michael Draves swims the 200 individual medley during a meet against Phoenixville Tuesday. (Barry Taglieber - For Digital First Media)
Boyertown’s Michael Draves swims the 200 individual medley during a meet against Phoenixville Tuesday. (Barry Taglieber – For Digital First Media)

And on Tuesday afternoon, Boyertown traveled to face Phoenixville in a Pioneer Athletic Conference meet at the Phoenixville Area YMCA.

Boyertown wound up taking the boys’ portion of the meet by a 110-60 margin against the Phantoms. That created a meet split on the day as Phoenixville won on the girls’ side by a 100-70 verdict.

“Our boys were really strong today,” said Draves, who took over following the retirement of longtime coach Linda Jones. “They swam well and they worked together well.”

The Bears boys (2-1 PAC-10, 3-1 overall) were led throughout the afternoon by junior Patrick Lance, a returning District 1-AAA qualifier who excels in the free and fly events.

Lance grabbed a victory in the 100-meter fly with a time of 1:01.47. Lance also swam the leadoff leg of the winning 200 free relay team that finished first with a time of 1:48.81. The Boyertown quartet also included Jacob Keifer, Joshua Boyer and Alex Longacre. Lance came back with another individual victory in the 100 breast in 1:17.21. He capped his successful day by anchoring the winning 400 relay team that won in 4:02.38. There, he teamed with Ivan Escott, Michael Draves and Rhett Watts for the victory.

“It’s not just individual, it’s a team sport,” said Lance. “It’s not just who finishes in first place and who swims year-round. The rest of the team cheers me on. We practice as a team. We work together. We push each other.

“The majority of our team members are juniors, so next year we should have a huge senior crowd. We also have a lot of young freshmen so it will be a better season than this one so far.”

Lance said his busy schedule includes 10 practices per week consisting of two-hour sessions.

“It’s a commitment sport,” said Lance.

Boyertown's Julianna Glasner swims the 100-meter butterfly during a meet against Phoenixville Tuesday. (Barry Tagleiber - For Digital First Media)
Boyertown’s Julianna Glasner swims the 100-meter butterfly during a meet against Phoenixville Tuesday. (Barry Tagleiber – For Digital First Media)

Draves likes the leadership he is getting from his two girls and two boys captains, which include Lance.

Michael Draves, a junior, is one of Bill’s four children and is third in the age group. His daughter, Teresa, is a sophomore member of this year’s team.

Bill has helped coach all of his childen. His oldest daughter graduated from Ohio State University and finished seventh in the Olympic Trials in the 200 fly. His oldest son, Bill, recently graduated from the United States Naval Academy, where he also competed on the swimming team.

“It’s a balancing act,” said the elder Draves. “I can’t spend a lot of time with just my own kids. I have to coach everybody on the team. But they all love swimming so I am not too hard on them. They all work hard. They love participating and working with their teams.”

Michael Draves won the boys 200-meter IM in 2:33.45.

The Bears posted a victory in the 200 medley relay in 2:04.19. That team consisted of Watts, Jacob Keifer, Oliver Tye and Ivan Escott on the anchor. Escott came back two events later with a win in the 200 free at 2:07.08 and also won the 400 free (4:37.47). Jacob Keifer won the 50 free (26.88) and took second to Phoenixville’s Jack Thompson in the 100 free. Thompson won at 59.80, and Keifer came in right behind him at 59.96. Watts finished first in the 100 back (1:08.92).

“Phoenixville has a lot of good kids and a strong program so I am happy for our boys,” said Bill Draves.

Phoenixville’s girls (1-1 PAC-10, 5-1 overall) got big performances from their usual leaders.

“It was awesome,” said Phantom junior Emily Fabius, who played a major role in the victory. “We were very excited. Last year we lost to Boyertown by two points. We were really excited to come back.”

The Phantom girls won the first event of the day, the 200 medley relay, in 2:08.75 with a group of juniors Liz Hussin, Maddie Cooke, Fabius and Kathryn Bland on the anchor. Fabius also won the 50 free (29.41), 100 fly (1:10.57) and swam the third leg of the victorious 200 free relay that won in 1:57.93.

That team consisted of Bland, Grace Kiernan, Fabius and Cooke on the anchor.

Cooke won the 200 IM (2:27.62) and also topped the field in the 100 breast (1:16.99).

“We all have own little talents so he (coach Dan Weinstein) definitely uses that to an advantage,” said Fabius.

Boyertown junior Cara Megill won the 100 free (1:03.52) and 100 back (1:12.72) and anchored the winning 400 free relay that earned first at 4:27.57. Megill also anchored the second-place 200 medley relay.

Teresa Draves won the 200 free (2:21.92) and 400 free (4:59.58) and also swam the leadoff leg of the winning 400 free relay.

“We have been practicing a lot,” said Teresa Draves. “This was probably the most we’ve practiced. We practiced all the time in all the years I have been swimming. I have been working hard and lifting. It’s worth it in the end.”

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