By DENNY DYROFF
For 21st Century Media
KENNETT SQUARE -- Last year, a rookie coach who was a former area standout swimmer took over as head coach of a local team and then took that team to a Ches-Mont League American Division title.
The same thing happened this year.
Billy Gordon, who had a stellar swim career at Owen J. Roberts High School and East Carolina University, became head coach of Unionville High's swim program this season. On Saturday afternoon at the Kennett Area YMCA, Unionville's girls defeated Great Valley, 101-64 to complete a perfect Ches-Mont League American Division season with a 5-0 record.
Last season, Kelly Nelson was the rookie coach winning a title. Nelson was the Daily Local News Girls Swimmer of the Year from 2002-2005 when she swam for West Chester East and then went on to be a key performer for Penn State University's high-profile program. A year ago, she took over the program at West Chester Rustin and led the boys to the American Division championship.
Rustin's boys repeated as titlists this season with a 5-0 league record. Unionville's only loss on the boys side was to Rustin earlier this season. In Saturday's meet, the Indians defeated the visiting Patriots, 95-70 to finish with a 4-1 league slate.
There were two quadruple-winners for the Unionville girls -- Laura Barthold and Maura Grimes. The talented pair teamed with Lauren Stabler and Katie Evanko on the winning 200-yard medley relay and with Molly Wentz and Katie Garvey on the first-place 200 freestyle relay.Individually, Barthold touched first in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:58.98 and won the 500 freestyle with a clocking of 5:28.30. Grimes started with a win in the 200 IM with a time of 2:19.94 and then returned later to win the 100 backstroke at 1:03.28.
"My 200 free time was pretty close to my season's best,' said Barthold. "I went out faster than I expected and then kept it up pretty well. In the 500, I pushed it hard in the last 100. I already have the seed times I want for districts, so I'm happy.'
Grimes said, "The IM was a better race for me today. I dropped three seconds off my season best. My backstroke felt better than usual. I've been working on it a lot in practice. And, my time in the 100 back was close to my season best.'
The Indians logged a sweep in the relays when Evanko, Wentz and Garvey joined with Bridget Foote to take first in the 400 freestyle relay. Other individual winners for the Indians were Lauren Adams, who topped the field in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:00.41, and Stabler, who logged the fastest time in the 100 butterfly at 1:02.83.
Great Valley was able to post two individual wins when Courtney Cortese placed first in the 50 freestyle and Erica Douglass touched first in the 100 breaststroke.
"My race in 100 breast wasn't great but it was all right,' said Douglass, a Patriot freshman who was also third in the 200 IM. "I need to work more on my backstroke for the IM. At this part of the season, my times were about what I expected -- and that's O.K.'
The Barthold siblings ruled the distance freestyle events in Saturday's meet. On the boys' side, Chris Batrthold swept the distance free events also. He took first in the 200 free at 1:54.28 and came back later to win the 500 free with a clocking of 5:05.66.
Barthold reached the quadruple-win plateau by joining with Greg Buckley, Jason Smiddy and Ben Halkowski for a win in the 200 medley relay and hooking up with Tommy Ferree, Buckley and Halkowksi for a victory in the 200 freestyle relay.
"The times in both races were O.K. but the 50 0was a better race,' said Barthold. "I tried to keep a good pace. My splits were consistent as usual. In the 200, I took it out harder than usual.'
Halkowski and Buckley also were quadruple-winners for the Indians. Halkowski logged victories in the 50 freestyle at 22.95 and the 100 backstroke at 57.01 while Buckley took first in the 200 IM with a time of 2:08.76 and the 100 freestyle with a clocking of 51.19.
I think my times were just all right today,' said Halkowski. "My 50 wasn't bad for a dual meet. We're doing a lot of yards in my club practices and we've had a lot of meets lately. That makes it hard to swim hard to get pumped up. It will be different when it's time for districts.'
Buckley said, "My events for districts will be fly and back. Today, I swam IM and 100 free. It was the coach's idea. I didn't care. I just wanted to get points for the team. I lost my goggles in the IM so that time wasn't that good but my 100 free time was decent.'
Ferree and Smiddy finished as triple-winners after joining with Kyle Garvey and Max Schenk for a win in the 400 freestyle. Individually, Ferree was first in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:10.65 while Smiddy took first place in the 100 butterfly at 57.83.
"My breast time was good -- not my best but good enough for this meet,' said Ferree, who was also second in the 100 butterfly at 58.30. "Fly was a good race. But, I went out a little too slow so I didn't get the time that I wanted.'
Unionville 101 Great Valley 64
200-yard medley relay -- Unionville (Grimes, Barthold, Stabler, Evanko) 1:54.96; 200 freestyle -- Barthold (U) 1:58.98; 200 IM -- Grimes (U) 2:19.94; 50 freestyle -- Cortese (G) 26.01; diving -- not contested; 100 butterfly -- Stabler (U) 1:02.83; 100 freestyle -- Adams (U) 1:00.41; 500 freestyle -- Barthold (U) 5:28.30; 200 freestyle relay -- Unionville (Wentz, Grimes, Garvey, Batrhold) 1:41.30; 100 backstroke -- Grimes (U) 1:03.28; 100 breaststroke -- Douglass (G) time not available; 400 freestyle relay -- Unionville (Evanko, Garvey, Wentz, Foote) 3:54.57.
Unionville 95 Great Valley 70
200-yard medley relay -- Unionville (Buckley, Barthold, Smiddy, Halkowski) 1:43.57; 200 freestyle -- Barthold (U) 1:54.28; 200 IM -- Buckley (U) 2:08.76; 50 freestyle -- Halkowski (U) 22.95; diving -- not contested; 100 butterfly -- Smiddy (U) 57.83; 100 freestyle -- Buckley (U) 51.19; 500 freestyle -- Barthold (U) 5:05.66; 200 freestyle relay -- Unionville (Ferree, Halkowski, Buckley, Barthold) 1:32.69; 100 backstroke -- Halkowski (U) 57.01; 100 breaststroke --Ferree (U) 1:10.65; 400 freestyle relay -- Unionville (Garvey, Schenk, Smiddy, Ferree) 3:42.31.