The Boyertown Area Times

OJR boys and girls swimmers remain undefeated

- By Dennis Weller dweller@medianewsg­ @dwellerspo­rtz on Twitter

The holiday break might be considered a time of rest and rejuvenati­on for high school swimmers, unlike their basketball and wrestling counterpar­ts who usually participat­e in one or more tournament­s while school is out.

But the opposite is actually true as late December and early January turn out to be the hardest training period for many swimmers, meaning that they need to fight through fatigue when they return to meet action.

And when they do, it is also a time for coaches to mix things up a bit to keep their swimmers excited and working hard and closing in on district qualifying times.

That was the case on Wednesday afternoon when Owen J. Roberts visited Boyertown for a Pioneer Athletic Conference meet and the Wildcat boys tried some different relay combinatio­ns. That turned out to be a success as all three teams achieved district cut times and the OJR boys squad remained undefeated (5-0) with a 70-41 win at the Boyertown YMCA. The Roberts girls also advanced to 5-0 in the PAC with a 9966 win.

“It’s the complete opposite,” Wildcat senior Logan Richards said concerning any perception that the school break makes for an actual break from training for high school swimmers. “More time off, more time to swim, more time to train. End of December, beginning of January is when we near the peak of our training, when our hard practices are.”

“It’s the nature of this point of the season,” said Wildcat coach Kevin Bott. “It’s the point of the season when all of the athletes are working hard and we see how they’re competing. Everybody is in the same boat.”

Richards, who won a gold medal in the 500 freestyle and finished sixth in the 200 free in states last year, took a break from those events on Wednesday and led off the 200 medley relay and anchored the 200 and 400 free teams.

“We were trying to get all of our cuts,” he said. “We made all three of our relays with very, very good times.”

Colin Davis and Ethan Suessmuth was also on all three winning relay teams, while Davis (50 free), Suessmuth (100 fly), Mark Flewelling (200 free), Nate Kulp (200 IM), Patrick Bowker (100 free) and Max Kulp (100 back) won individual events for the Wildcats.

Eliana Crew was the most frequent winner for the OJR girls, taking first place in the 200 free and 100 fly and participat­ing in the 200 free and 400 free winning relay teams.

“She’s the kind of kid who comes to practice and works hard every day,” said Bott. “She has the respect of her teammates. Just a great teammate to have for our swimmers.”

Natalie Spencer also won two individual races (200 free, 100 fly) for the Wildcats and was a part of the 400 relay squad.

“Things are going really well,” she said. “I’m enjoying the team and we’re getting along really well. Practices are really fun and I’m trying to make the most of my senior year. It’s exciting bringing out new freshmen and having new team leaders. I have high expectatio­ns for this year.”

Going up against the defending PAC champion was a tough task for Boyertown, especially the undermanne­d boys squad.

“Our goal is to enjoy the season and make the most of it, and support everybody academical­ly and in the pool,” said Bear coach Hannah Scheiry. “I’m very proud of them in the pool and the academic standpoint. Harry Tye (500 free winner on Wednesday) is getting there in the 500 free. We try different things. A lot of new swimmers and trying some new things. We might as well have a fun meet.”

The Bear girls have been more competitiv­e in their meets, with a good number out for the team.

“The girls team is looking wonderful … 23 swimmers, a good number for them,” said Scheiry. “Tamara Engler (100 breast winner and member of the 200 medley relay winning team on Wednesday) has been dropping times in the 100 breast. Meets like this show us different competitor­s and different levels.”

And while the Bears try to get better every day, the Wildcats are expecting some tough meets the remainder of the league schedule.

“There are some teams with really good records,” said Bott. “I’m looking for some competitiv­e meets the rest of the season. We’re taking it one meet at a time, trying to keep everybody excited and working hard.”

And that includes Richards, who set a district record in the 500 free last year.

“I’d like replicate what I did last year in the 200 and 500,” he said. “I have more than enough confidence in coach Bott to get me there.”

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