SCHUYLKILL >> On a festive Senior Day for boys and girls swimming at the Phoeniville Area YMCA, visiting Boyertown still came away with a split in the Pioneer Athletic Conference confrontation against the Phantoms.
The Boyertown boys posted a 98-67 victory while the Phoenixville girls edged Boyertown, 87-83, in another classic encounter between two PAC heavyweights with a great atmosphere.
Boyertown’s boys raised their record to 8-1 while dropping Phoenixville to 4-5. On the girls’ side, Phoenixville upped its log to 8-2 while Boyertown is now 5-3.
Both schools have one PAC meet remaining. Then come the Perkiomen Valley Invitational and the rest of the postseason races.
Phoenixville honored its large and talented senior class that includes 18 swimmers, 14 girls and four boys after the first eight events that started the day.
With such an experienced group, Boyertown coach Bill Draves was quite glad to see his Bear girls push the Phantoms to the brink before coming up short in the final outcome. He noted that Boyertown’s girls finished 3-5 a year ago in the PAC, but they are already 5-3 for the 2017 campaign.
“Four points,” said Draves, who is assisted by Gregg Kuder. “I didn’t expect it to be that close because of the relays. Phoenixville beat Methacton, and Methacton had beaten us. I am just happy that we had some really good swims to make it this close.”
Phoenixville still flexed its collective muscle, led by senior Maddie Cooke, who once again recorded four victories (two individual, two relays) on the day. The Phantoms began the day with a victory in the 200-meter medley relay with an all-senior group consisting of Kathryn Bland, Cooke, Emily Fabius and Grace Kiernan on the anchor.
Three events later, Cooke took the 50 free (27.51). Then Bland, Kiernan, Fabius and Cooke won the 200 free relay in 1:56.66. Cooke capped her day with a victory in the 100 breast (1:14.96). Fabius also won the 100 butterfly (1:11.37).
“It was super,” said Phoenixville coach Dan Weinstein, who was thrilled with another formidable showing by both the Phantom girls and boys against the Bears. “Boyertown swam an amazing meet. We kind of figured it would go down to the end. Boyertown is strong in the distance events. I relied heavily on our relays. Our senior relays were huge. We had two relays where we went 1-2, which was huge. Our senior leaders really stepped it up. They came in fired up. Everybody was intense. It was a family day, and they really came through for our team.”
Draves was impressed by some of the individual performances that created such a tight final score.
In the 200 free, the Bears finished 1-3-4 with freshman Hannah Shaner winning in 2:21.76, followed by sophomore Kathryn Donovan (2:24.88) and sophomore Abigail Grofe (2:26.76).
Junior Teresa Draves earned a win in the 200 individual medley (2:33.71). Then in the 50 free, the Bears came through with some pivotal points as sophomore Emily Drabick came in second to Cooke at 29.30, and sophomore Grace McKee placed fourth (29.78).
“We were worried about the 50 freestyle,” said Bill Draves. “Phoenixville’s got some really strong sprinters. (Emily Drabick) placing second was sweet. I thought Phoenixville would go 1-2-3 in that (50 free). That was kind of great.”
Senior Cara Megill also came up with a big victory in the 100 free (1:02.48).
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On the boys’ side, senior Patrick Lance provided three victories to the showing. Lance anchored the 200 medley relay for the Bears that won in 1:59.64, and he also anchored the victorious 200 free relay that finished first in 1:47.38. Lance earned an individual first-place finish in the 100 butterfly (1:00.44).
Junior Joshua Boyer, senior Jacob Keifer and senior Ivan Escott joined Lance on the opening 200 medley relay win. Escort, Keifer and senior Alexander Longacre swam the first three legs of the 200 free relay.
Longacre also captured the 200 free (2:09.85) while freshman Nathan Zimmerman won the 200 IM (2:28.89). Jacob Keifer picked up a win in the 50 free (26.86).
Oliver Tye won the 100 free in 59.44 with Aaron Keifer taking second at 1:00.69. Freshman Owen Miller placed first in the 400 free (4:38.41). Boyer topped the field in the 100 back (1:06.05).
Phoenixville sophomore Dominic Sposato won the 100 breast (1:15.69).
“Their boys are so tough,” said Weinstein. “From top to bottom, their boys and girls are fantastic at Boyertown.”
NOTES >> Phoenixville’s seniors include Kathryn Bland, Maddie Cooke, Dina Corraro, Marcy Donatelli, Emily Fabius, Anna Florio (who also ranks first in her class academically), Paul Graeff, Josh Hayward, Enola Hihi, Emily Holberg, Liz Hussin, Grace Kieran, Kelly Kopera, Matt LoPolito, Kaleigh Quinnan, Emilie Ritter, Erica Sposato and Matt Tweedie. … Phoenixville’s seniors sang the National Anthem to begin the meet.