The Cougars swam to their fifth straight Mid-Penn Keystone title on Tuesday in a clinching 115-55 victory over Bishop McDevitt.
PALMYRA - Nothing about swimming is easy. Nothing.
Neither is trying to win five division titles in a row, no matter the sport.
But the Palmyra girls swim team has somehow managed to make both endeavors look much simpler than they really are.
The Cougars wrapped up an unbeaten run to their fifth straight Mid-Penn Keystone Division title on Tuesday, rolling past Bishop McDevitt 115-55 in a division finale at Palmyra Area High School.
Led by sophomore Ellie Keck, who captured the 100-yard butterfly and 100 freestyle back-to-back while also anchoring the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, Palmyra won 10 of the meet's 11 events while improving to 9-1 overall and closing out its Keystone slate at a perfect 7-0.
Impressive, to say the least, particularly considering the catalyst for the first four division titles, highly decorated 2015 grad Peyten Lyons, is now tearing it up on the collegiate level at Ursinus.
As the saying goes, tradition never graduates, and Palmyra has quite a noteworthy one going these days. And it got to share its triumph with a very solid Cougar boys team, which prevailed over McDevitt by a 102-68 count to up its record to 7-3 overall and 6-1 in the Keystone, good for second place.
"This really has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with these kids." Palmyra head coach Cynthia Lyons said, deflecting any credit for her and the Palmyra coaching staff. "I just couldn't be more proud of this contingent of kids. It's a lot of hard work, it's a lot of laps, and it's really a group effort. They really, really work hard and it's a really good group of kids."
Tuesday's win certainly was a group effort, with Samantha St. Clair (200 free, 500 free), Kate Hess (200 IM), Maddie Wolfe (50 free), and Kate Sanborn (100 breast stroke) joining Keck in the winner's circle.
In addition, Palmyra swept the three relays. Hess, Wolfe, Abbey Hess and Katie Keck teamed up to win the 200 medley relay, Wolfe, Shealyn Trostle, St. Clair and Ellie Keck joined forces on the 200 free relay victory, while St. Clair, Trostle, Karly Bruce and Keck took care of business in the 400 free relay.
"We're really lucky this year," Ellie Keck said. "We lost Peyten, but our depth is really good. Everyone's been stepping up and filling in where they need to be. Everyone swims strong where they need to swim strong, to fill out all of the events."
"Really the only difference is that she's not physically here with us," Lyons said of the first title without Peyten, her daughter. "These gals really came through and were shining stars without her, but they were shining stars with Peyten in the water, too. I certainly miss her excitement on the deck, but otherwise there isn't a whole lot of difference. We're still swimming pretty fast for this time of year.
"We've been really, really blessed to have kids that are diverse in the water and out of the water. That's how it all works and that's why it works."
Leading the Palmyra boys to victory was reigning Class AA 200 freestyle district champ Teag Culver, who took the 500 free and 100 backstroke. Joshua Wakefield (200 IM) and Tanner Yaw (100 butterfly) also won events, and the Cougars added the 200 and freestyle relays to their win total.
Palmyra 115, Bishop McDevitt 55
200 medley relay — 1. Palmyra (K. Hess, K. Keck, A. Hess, Wolfe) 2:01.89 . 200 free — 1. Samantha St. Clair (P) 2:04.45, 2. Finnerty (BM), 3. Bruce (P) . 200 IM — 1. Kate Hess (P) 2:26.60, 2. Trostle (P), 3. Posavec (BM) . 50 free — 1. Maddie Wolfe (P) 25.94, 2. Clancy (BM), 3. Augustine (BM). 100 fly — 1. Ellie Keck (P) 1:02.71, 2. A. Hess (P), 3. Bliemeister (P) . 100 free — 1. E. Keck (P) 57.55, 2. Wolfe (P), 3. Hudak (BM) . 500 free — 1. Samantha St. Clair (P) 5:32.42, 2. Finnerty (BM), 3. A. Hess (P) . 200 free relay — 1. Palmyra (Wolfe, Trostle, St. Clair, E. Keck) 1:45.15. 100 back — 1 Jenna Clancy (BM) 1:03.41, 2. K. Hess (P), 3. Trostle (P). . 100 breast — 1. Kate Sanborn (P) 1:15.03, 2. K. Keck (P) 3. Dempsey (BM) . 400 free relay — 1. Palmyra (St. Clair, Trostle, Bruce, E. Keck)
Palmyra 102, Bishop McDevitt 68
200 medley relay — 1. Bishop McDevitt (Mata, Pompei, Yoffe, Lauver) 1:42.99. . 200 free — 1. Josiah Lauver (BM) 1:53.32, 2. Mosby (P), 3. Yaw (P) . 200 IM — 1. Joshua Wakefield (P) 2:08.77, 2. Yoffe (BM), 3. Klinefelter (P) . 50 free — 1. Jonathan Mata (BM) 23.15, 2.James (P), 3. Giordano (P) 100 fly — 1. Tanner Yaw (P) 57.43, 2.Pompei (BM) 3. Montisano (BM) . 100 free — 1. Jonathan Mata (BM) 50.68, 2. Wakefield (P), 3. Giordano (P) . 500 free — 1. Teag Culver (P) 5:04.90, 2. Yoffe (BM), 3. Cottingham (P) . 200 free relay — 1. Palmyra (Wakefield, Giordano, Mosby, Culver) 1;33.50 . 100 back — 1. Culver (P) 59.52, 2. James (P), 3. Klinefelter (P) . 100 breast — 1. Alex Pompei (BM) 1:06.80, 2. Durand (P), 3. Blake (BM) . 400 free relay — 1, Palmyra (Wakefield, James, Yaw, Culver) 3:28.44.