WEST GOSHEN -- West Chester Henderson's swim coach Jeff Bott has an early-season meet each year that serves as a good litmus test for what to expect from his teams -- a challenging non-league showdown featuring two of the better scholastic swimming programs in District 1.
It is an early December meet that is the annual "Battle of the Warriors' -- a co-ed dual meet featuring the Methacton Warriors from the Pioneer Athletic Conference and the West Chester Henderson Warriors from the Ches-Mont League.
This year, the battle was a Saturday matinee at the West Chester YMCA's pool in West Goshen. Henderson's girls had enough strength up top and overall depth to post a 101-83 win. The Henderson boys produced a number of impressive performances but lacked the depth to overtake their hosts. As a result, the Methacton boys were able to log a 101-83 victory.
Henderson's girls opened with a win in the 200-yard medley relay when Abby Kosic, Ainsley Fruwirth, Rachel Hazard and Maddie Hendricks clocked a 1:54.78.
Maddie McNichol followed with a victory in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:57.66 while Methacton's Kirsten Groff was runner-up at 1:58.05. They battled again in the 100 free with Groff winning at 54.62 and McNichol touching second at 54.86.
"My 200 free was a really good race -- a tough race against Henderson's Maddie McNichol,' said Groff. "I've raced her a few times and it's always a good race. The close finish in the 200 got me excited for the 100. I was really happy with my race in the 100 free. It was another really close race with Maddie.'
Kosic picked up her first individual win in the 50 free with a time of 25.84 and added another in the 100 backstroke at 1:02.62. Other individual winners for Henderson girls' team were Rachel Hazard in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:01.52 and Caitlyn Kelly in the 500 free with a clocking of 5:35.26.
"I had an eight-second drop in the 500 free today,' said Kelly, a sophomore who also finished third in the 200 free at 2:04.66. "I guess I just finished harder. I was at 5:57 at the start of last season. My 200 free was good too. I dropped three seconds. I was happy with my times today.'
Other key scorers for the Warrior girls were Olivia Cotellesse (second, 500 free, 5:43.28), Madeline Schaeffer (second, diving, 186.65) and Fruwirth (second, 200 IM, 2:21.14; second, 100 breaststroke, 1:13.16).
Henderson's boys were paced by a pair of individual double-winners -- Thomas McCormick, who was first in the 100 fly at 54.87 and the 100 breast at 1:01.01, and Brennan Smith, who won the 200 free at 1:52.43 and the 500 free at 5:10.28.
"My times were good,' said McCormick. "With my club team we started easing off for next weekend's TRYR meet so it's hard to compare today's times with last year. I'm happy with both times. They were decent. I was just focusing on getting points for my team.'
Smith, a freshman, said, "My 200 free was close to my best time ever. It was better than I expected. In the 500, I was tired and just tried to hold the lead. I just wanted to get it done and get ready for the two freestyle relays.'
Other individual winners for the Warriors were Jared Fruwirth in the 200 IM at 2:09.43 and Justin Dychala in the 100 free at 51.44.
"That was my p.r. (personal record) in the IM,' said Fruwirth, a freshman who also placed third in the 100 breaststroke at 1:07.03. "I felt strong in fly and then really brought it home in free. In the medley relay, I did a 28.5 breast split and that was my best ever. I felt really strong in the water today.'
Dychala, a senior who also finished second in the 200 free at 1:53.60, said, "That was a good time for me in the 100 free. I also did a 22.7 free split in the medley relay. My stroke felt good today.'
W.C. Henderson 101
Methacton 83 (GIRLS)
200-yard medley relay —Henderson (Kosic, Fruwirth, Hazard, Hendricks) 1:54.78; 200 freestyle — McNichol (H)1:57.66; 200 IM — Sykes (M) 2:12.83; 50 freestyle — Kosic (H) 25.84; diving — Lavrich (M) 200.15; 100 butterfly —Hazard (H) 1:01.52; 100 freestyle — Groff (M) 54.62; 500 freestyle — Kelly (H) 5:35.26; 200 freestyle relay — Methacton (Sykes, Lebold, Rees, Goff) 1:43.69; 100 backstroke — Kosic (H) 1:02.62; 100 breaststroke — Sykes (M) 1:08.34; 400 freestyle relay —Methacton (Sykes, Zebrowski, A. Groff, Dobbs) 4:10.24.
W.C. Henderson 85 (BOYS)
200-yard medley relay —Methacton (Lin, Jen, Schulz, Price) 1:43.07; 200 freestyle — Smith (H) 1:52.43; 200 IM — Fruwirth (H) 2:09.43; 50 freestyle — Price (M) 23.51; diving — D. Roy (M) 254.40; 100 butterfly — McCormick (H) 54.87; 100 freestyle — Dychala (H) 51.44; 500 freestyle — Smith (H) 5:10.28; 200 freestyle relay — Henderson (Callahan, Fruwirth, Gomez, Smith) 1:38.49; 100 backstroke — Lin (M) 57.61; 100 breaststroke — McCormick (H) 1:01.01; 400 freestyle relay — Methacton (Lin, Schultz, D'Angelo, Price) 3:29.0.