by Tom Utescher
After going into the holiday break all even with a 2-2 record, Mount St. Joseph Academy swimmers chalked up their second win of the new year last Tuesday evening, when they paddled past visiting Merion Mercy Academy, 101-64. In its first meet of 2015, the Mount won another Athletic Association of Catholic Academies contest at Villa Joseph Marie back on January 8.
Mount St. Joe usually hosts visiting teams in the four-lane pool at La Salle High School, but for the Merion meet last Tuesday the Magic used a different “home away from home,” the six-lane facility at Arcadia University in Glenside. With their successful outcome there, the Mounties improved to 3-0 in the AACA, and 4-2 overall.
Merion Mercy, one of the smaller swim teams in the league, arrived at Arcadia with a record of 1-4 against Catholic Academies members, having defeated Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. Knowing this, Mount St. Joe was able to experiment with its line-up, having some athletes swim out-of-position.
The meet began with a one-two finish for the Magic in the 200 yard medley relay. Haley Sannem, a senior headed for the University of Alabama, led off the winning quartet, and she was followed into the pool by sophomore Grace Comerford, freshman Rebecca Patti, and junior Katie Zimmerman. They won in one minute, 59.40 seconds, while second place went to Harvard-bound senior Steph Eble, juniors Julia Comerford (Grace’s sister) and Liz DeGroat, and freshman Cathryn Antonacio, who were less than half-a-second behind.
Sophomore Katherine Schafer won the 200 freestyle in 2:06.79 and freshman Jen DeGroat (sister of Liz) was the runner-up (2:08.98), while in the 200 individual medley, a time of 2:23.34 won it for MSJ ninth-grader Taylor Dragonosky, with senior Georgia Kelly finishing third.
Eble, who normally swims – and wins – the 500 yard freestyle, showed that she can sprint, as well, winning the 50 free in 26.54 seconds over her teammate, Zimmerman (26.78). Schafer locked up a win for the Mount in the 500 free as she finished in 5:30.04, while third place went to her 10th-grade classmate, Susanne Kushnerick.
With a time of 1:04.92, Liz DeGroat won the 100 butterfly by more than two seconds, but in the 100 freestyle race that followed two young Mounties came in close together, Patti winning in 58.56 seconds, and Antonacio the runner-up in 59.14. Antonacio would come out on top in the 100 back stroke (1:10.50), where there was another one-two finish for the Magic thanks to sophomore Adriana Formica (1:11.82).
Dragonosky picked up her second individual victory of the evening in the 100 breast stroke, with a time of 1:13.64 allowing her to edge out Julia Comerford, who was a hair behind at 1:13.69.
The Magic captured the top two spots in the 200 freestyle relay, with the DeGroat sisters each leading off for one of the Mount quartets. Here, the younger Jen got the drop on her older sibling, preceding Kelly, Zimmerman, and Eble in the winning effort at 1:47.21. Liz DeGroat was followed by sophomores Sam Bauer and Ally Carpenter and by Sannem, and this foursome was second in 1:49.70.
By the time that the 400 free relay rolled around at the end of the meet, the Mounties had long since clinched the team victory, and they swam this final race on an exhibition basis. Although the first two groups to finish up were both from Mount St. Joe, Merion was the official winner.