MIDDLETOWN, DEL. -- If you're talking about shaving, Schicks are disposable. If you're talking about Westtown School swimming, Schicks are irreplaceable.The Schick twins -- Steph and Katie -- have been the mainstays of the Quakers' swim team for the last four years.
Last Saturday, they competed in their final DISC (Delaware Independent School Conference) Swimming and Diving Championships at St. Andrew School's Genereaux Aquatic Center in Middletown, Del., and returned from the First State as quadruple winners.
The twins represent two-thirds of the Quakers' stellar swimming triumvirate with Alyce-Faye Eichelberger as the other third. On Saturday, they joined with Anne Katharine Burns to win the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:59.3, and later in the meet teamed with Jamie Murphy-Soika to take first in the 400 freestyle relay with a clocking of 3:52.
All three also logged two individual wins apiece. Steph Schick won the 50 freestyle at 26.26 and the 100 butterfly at 1:02.53, and her younger sister Katie was first in the 200 IM at 2:14.1 and the 100 backstroke at 59.12. Eichelberger touched first in the 200 IM at 2:15.2 and the 100 backstroke at 59.23.
The Quakers arrived for the meet as slim favorites to take the team title.
"Our coach scored the meet ahead of time based on the psyche sheets (seedings) and it had us winning the meet by three points,' said Steph Schick.
Westtown was seeded first in the 200 medley and 400 free relays and the talented trio had top seeds in all six of its individual events. Obviously, that left little room for improvement in the scoring column.
"We ended up losing to St. Andrew's School by two points,' said Westtown coach Jason Brennan. "They just had more depth than we did. We won six of the eight individual swim events and two of the three relays. They had the other first-place finishes and they scored with their fourth, fifth and sixth-place finishes.'
Eichelberger said, "It was a little disappointing that we lost. But, we all swam well. My times were right where I thought they'd be.'
This was the third year in a row that the Quakers came back from their trip below the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal with the runner-up team trophy. Last year, Tatnall School beat them by three points.
"This was my best DISC meet,' said Steph Schick. "My times were all faster than they were last year. It was disappointing that we lost but we had some good races at the end.'
The Schicks have two more meets left in their scholastic swim careers. On February 8, they will compete in the Friends School League Championships at Swarthmore College and then wrap it up at Easterns on February 21 and 22 at La Salle University.
"We're undefeated in the Friends League,' said Katie Schick. "We only lost two dual meets all season and both were in DISC -- St. Andrew's and Wilmington Friends. Now, we want to win that league meet.'
Easterns, which are officially known as the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships, feature many of the top private school swimmers in America. It is one of the sport's most prestigious meets.
"Last year, we made it to the championship finals at Easterns in the 400 free relay,' said Eichelberger. "We medaled when we finished sixth. I also made it back to the finals in 100 back and 200 IM.'
Eichelberger, a Dutch native who has hopes of competing for Holland's junior and senior national teams, is only a sophomore. So, Brennan still has a lot to look forward to from her. With the Schicks, it's Easterns and then time to say ' Sayonara.'
"Losing the Schicks is going to hurt us -- a lot,' said Brennan. "They're winners in all their events and they're big parts of our winning relays.
"They've given us great leadership. They're always positive. They've helped change the competitiveness of this team. They are the type of swimmers we want to bring and keep at Westtown.'
In other words, the Schicks are irreplaceable.