Undermanned Strath Haven girls scratch out win over Penncrest

NETHER PROVIDENCE >> Before Thursday’s meet with Penncrest, Strath Haven coach Dina Dormer called her girls team together to explain the situation.

For the day, they would be without two senior leaders, Summer Martin and Camille Jablonski. But the goal wouldn’t change.

“Dina told us, ‘I know we don’t have our best swimmers, but I do not want to lose to Penncrest,’” sophomore Michelle Diamandi said. “So we felt the tension, but we really came together as a team.”

Diamandi helped turn the tide, her surprise second-place finish in the 100 butterfly ushering in a huge point total for the Panthers in a 99-85 Central League win.

The Strath Haven boys didn’t leave quite as much suspense, swimming away with a 111-67 decision.

The absences of Martin (illness) and Jablonski (travel) put Diamandi in position to make a difference. Sans the individual medleyist Jablonski, Liz Olszewski stepped outside her usual 100-yard stroke expertise, duly winning the IM in a quick 2:14.12.

Instead of Olszewski kicking off the second half of the meet as the 100 fly “A” swimmer, everyone else stepped up a rung on the heat sheet, Diamandi as the “C” swimmer in lane 1. She responded by taking second in a tight race.

Haven’s “A,” Spencer Seaman, faded late in trying to replicate her 200 freestyle win, ending up fourth. But in lane 5, Emily Ross seized the initiative to win in 1:04.14. Chugging home in second, aided by the boisterous teammates lining the deck just above her, was Diamandi in 1:05.11, just ahead of Penncrest’s Isabella Moscatelli (1:05.23).

“I try to focus on my own race when I swim, so I wasn’t really aware of any of the other swimmers,” Diamandi said. “I got a glimpse at each of the turns. Since I was in Lane 1, I heard all the cheering from our team, and that definitely helped me and I just drove fast into the finish.”

The teams went into diving with Haven holding a slim 42-36 lead; by the end of fly, the edge ballooned to 54-40, with a momentum boost everyone on deck could feel.

“It was really inspiring,” said Olszewski, who also won the 100 breaststroke. “I’m always in the 100 fly, so it was so great to sit back and watch my team take the lead and pull it out when we needed it coming out of diving.”

Haven also went 1-2 in diving, with PhilAnn Dixon setting a season-best score of 263.95 and Eleni Pappas following up in 220.40.

The absence of the All-Delco Martin deprived those in attendance a showdown between two of District 1’s elite sprinters, with Penncrest’s All-Delco Claire Walsh claiming both events with ease. Walsh clocked in at 25.15 seconds in the 50 and a season-best 55.34 in the 100. (An under-the-weather Martin went 52.91 Tuesday at Radnor). Walsh also anchored the Lions’ victorious 200 medley and 400 free relays.

Strath Haven freshman Sophie Bergstrom used a strong last 100 to come from behind and with the 500 free, while she settled for second behind Penncrest’s Julia Colizzo in the 100 backstroke before Olszewski clinched the Haven win in breaststroke with a 1:09.54.

That signaled mission-accomplished for Haven, even without two big guns.

“Of course we missed them, but I think it really brought the team together for a more positive atmosphere,” Olszewski said. “Now we can do this, and we have to do this. So it brought us together.”

The boys meet was never in doubt, with Strath Haven clinching by the 200 free relay.

Will Resweber sped away to wins in the 200 and 500 free. Oliver Yancey (50 free, 100 breast) and Jake Booth (200 IM, 100 back) joined him with two wins each, while Nick Riviello spurred a 1-2-3 diving finish.

Penncrest’s only win on the boys side came via Kyle Langan, the lone senior on a youthful roster, who recorded a District 1 consideration time of 55.19 in sealing victory in the 100 fly.

In other Central League girls action:

Garnet Valley 101, Lower Merion 82 >> Madison Kolessar won the 200 IM and 400 free, and she anchored the victorious 200 free relay that paced the Jags to the win.

Joining Kolessar on the relay were Anastasia Erley (winner of the 50 free), Jordan Stansfield (100 fly) and Noelle DiClemente (100 free). Marissa Register won diving, and Lucy Townend was quickest in the 100 breast.

Upper Darby 103, Marple Newtown 80 >> Emily Lehman handled the distance events, Margaret Hamilton reigned in the sprint and Madison Weir won the 100 fly and 100 back to pace UD.

Haverford 96, Harriton 82 >> Abby Krissinger won the 100 fly and 200 free early in the meet, and Allie Rosengarten inspired a 1-2 finish in diving to pace the Fords.

In Central League boys action:

Upper Darby 103, Marple Newtown 80 >> James Vogelsong won the 200 IM and 100 free, Will Pedley claimed the 50 free and 100 breast, and the Royals swept all three relays in the win.

Mike Hannig got to the wall first in the 200 free and 100 back for Marple.

Haverford 106, Harriton 80 >> Will Canny edged teammate Steve Szathmary in diving as both scored 257 points to pace a 1-2-3 results. Collin Pettit won the 100 back, Leo Goldszal won the 200 IM and Matthew Bochanski edged his opposition in the 500 while the Fords won all three relays.

Lower Merion 101, Garnet Valley 82 >> Alex Mitchell won the 200 IM and 100 fly, and James Greek won the 200 free, but the Jags couldn’t keep pace. Aidan Zipf added a victory in the 100 breast for GV.

In nonleague boys swimming:

Sun Valley 112, Glen Mills 57 >> Brian Chadwick won diving with a score of 185.05, then returned to claim the 500 free to pace the Vanguards.

Ryan Haughey won the 200 free and 100 breast, and Grant Michaels swept the 50 free and 100 fly for Sun Valley.

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