It’s the middle of January, near the midway point of the high school swimming season and one thing is clear: The grind is on in full force.
For starters, many swimmers are dealing with their heaviest workloads, both in the pool and out. Swimmers are at their peak of yardage during workouts at the same time many are dealing with midterms.
Add in the head colds and other illnesses that typically occur at this time of year, and it’s a lot for student-athletes to handle.
As a former high school swimmer and now coach for several years, York Suburban’s Craig Brennan knows the grind first-hand.
“It’s really trying to get through the rest of this month with sickness and stuff,” Brennan said. “You are exhausted from the work you’ve done to this point, yet it’s still too far away to see the light at the end of the tunnel, of resting and tapering.”
But Brennan has a plan for dealing with it as his boys' and girls' teams both enter the second half of the YAIAA Division II season in first place with 3-0 league marks.
“That’s why it’s important to remind swimmers not only weekly goals, but daily goals,” he said. “We are going to focus on one specific part of the race. We are doing sets where we put our emphasis on turns.”
One thing Brennan and the Trojans can’t do is look ahead to the likely girls’ showdown next week against West York. His Trojans will host Dover on Thursday.
Suburban frontrunners Cara Zortman, Keelie Walker, Maddy Abel and others must contend with Dover distance specialist Lindsay Brenneman, who has posted one of the top 500-yard freestyle times in the state this season.
On the boys’ side, Gettysburg pushed the Trojans in last week’s Division II showdown, although Suburban’s depth was the difference. The Warriors’ Jared Herr entered the week ranked 23rd in the 500 free.
Here's a midseason review of the YAIAA swimming picture.
West York girls rolling
Speaking of best times in the state, Bulldogs senior Courtney Harnish — who set District 3 and PIAA Class AA records as a freshman — is up to her old tricks.
Harnish entered the week with the state’s No. 1 time in the 500 free, and the fourth-best time in the 200 free, across both classifications. She also has the second-fastest 100 butterfly time.
Teammates Meghan French (200 free, 500 free) and Tesia Thomas (50 free) have been impressive, as well. Both are on the state leaderboard, along with Maddi Stoner, who keys the Bulldogs’ relays. Diver Erica Sarver figures to be in the running for her third straight district title.
Canner is outstanding so far
Swimming as an independent athlete for a school with no varsity team, Biglerville’s Sarah Hardy is looking terrific. The freshman’s recent 100 breaststroke time of 1:08.81 is the 20th fastest swam in the state this season.
Northeastern's freestyle phenom
Northeastern junior Drew Wilson showed incredible improvement last season, but he appears set to prove his sophomore year was no fluke. Wilson holds statewide top 50 times in the 200 free (15th), 500 free (20) and 100 free (23).
Stoner and Brockway lead ever-deep Wildcats
The Dallastown duo of Jacob Stoner and Logan Brockway are far from alone when it comes to the success of the deep Wildcat boys’ and girls’ teams, which are in first place in Division I. But the two are flying in the water this season.
Stoner’s 51.44 is tied for the fourth-fastest 100 butterfly time in the PIAA this season, and for good measure he also swam the 16th-best 50 free. Brockway is in the top 35 in the 200 individual medley, as well as the 100 backstroke.
Central York progressing
Graduation was rough on the Panthers, who also have one of the toughest non-league schedules, including swimming against Governor Mifflin and Wilson. Central entered the week with a 1-1 league mark, 3-4 in the boys and 4-3 in the girls overall.
Brennan said he was impressed with the Panthers' depth when Suburban faced them.
“One of first meets was against Central, their girls were pretty tough on us,” he said. “They had a lot of impact freshmen.”
Sophomore Patrick O’Neil has been a bright spot in the distance events for the boys. Diver Garrett Sommer, the defending YAIAA champ is also back for the Panthers.
McFadden leading way for Warriors
It’s been a while since Susquehannock had a swimmer crack the state’s top time list, but Logan McFadden has done just that in the boys’ 100 backstroke. Brennan said that McFadden is one of several Warriors that caught his eye.
Fast as Mustangs
South Western coach Ray Evelan was excited going into the season and has not been disappointed by his squads, which each hold 1-1 records in Division I. Alex Yokem is swimming fast for the boys’ team, which is 2-2 overall.
Yokem is in the state’s top 50 in three events this season: the 100 free (29th), 50 free (35) and 100 butterfly (48). Meanwhile, the Mustangs girls’ squad is 3-1 overall.