The South Western High swimming program has been in existence for 39 years. There has been one constant through all of those years -- Bill Sterner.

Sterner is the only head coach South Western has known and, after 39 years and more than 500 wins later, he announced at Tuesday's final home dual meet of the 2012-13 season that this will be his last as head coach.

He retired from teaching several years ago but continued to be a steady presence in the pool.

On Tuesday night, the Mustang faithful paid homage to a career that has spanned decades and to a man who has impacted generations of swimmers.

"It was great seeing so many former swimmers here tonight," Sterner said. "I was really glad to see them. Throughout my career, we have had some really good swimmers. Jason DePalmer was here and he still has the {100-yard) breaststroke record. Everyone that came back has made significant contribution to South Western swimming over the years."

As for the current Mustang teams, they made sure their coach went out a winner in front of the home crowd. The boys defeated Carlisle 118-58 and the girls won 121-59.

"It feels great to win," Sterner said. "The great thing was the boys' 400 (freestyle) relay that we were able to pull out. I will remember that for a while. That was our best time all year. I am just a happy, happy coach right now."


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Just prior to that relay, the crowd gave Sterner a standing ovation, letting him know that he might leave the pool, but he will never leave their hearts.

"That was neat," he said. "I didn't expect it, but I appreciate it. I appreciated it a lot."

In addition to sending their coach out with a win, Tyler Good and Nathan Mart also enjoyed a win on Senior Night.

Good set personal bests in the 200 freestyle (1:55.91) and the 500 freestyle (5:18.72).

"It is a great feeling," Good said. "Winning is a great feeling. We came in knowing Carlisle was very talented, but we wanted Coach to go out with a win. We came into the meet knowing that we were going to do whatever it took to leave with a win. Coach has had a huge impact on my life. He has been drilling in my head to never give up. He has also taught me to be a leader. Both are things I hope to apply throughout life."

Mart came in first in the 50 and 100 freestyles as well as the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.

"Coach is a tough man when he runs a practice, but there is a fun-loving side to him," Mart said. "He will come out and say something that will just blow you away. We view him as this authority figure and then he will come out cracking jokes. He is a great man."

One thing that will be felt for years will be the legacy Sterner leaves.

"I think he leaves a legacy of dedication," Mart said. "He has stuck around from the inception of the program until now. He has retired from teaching but still continued to coach. That isn't just a dedication to the sport, but a dedication to the students that he has coached every year."

It was not just the boys' team that Sterner impacted. He also left his mark on the girls' team.

Briannah Rohrbaugh, who won the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and swam on the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays, considered it a privilege to swim for South Western and Sterner, but is also excited to see how a new legacy will be created.

"Coach is an amazing man," she said. "He is a great coach. He motivates us to do our best. He pushes us in the pool, but he also pushes us out of the pool and in life. I am so lucky to have him in my life.

"It will definitely be different next year when he is not here. Every program has its era and Coach had his, and now it is time for a new legacy to start."

mrubin@eveningsun.com; 717-637-3736, extension 143. Twitter: @michaelrubin6.

  
Tuesday's Boys' Result
   South Western 118, Carlisle 58
  

SOUTH WESTERN 118, CARLISLE 58
   200 medley relay -- 1. South Western (Jordan Grim, Kieran Koehler, Michael Ballou, Nathan Mart), 1:46.55; 2. South Western 3. Carlisle .
   200 free -- 1. Tyler Good, SW, 1:55.91; 2. Ryan Myers, Car; 3. Dan Maxwell, SW.
   200 IM -- 1. Grim, SW, 2:07.79; 2. Jacob Green, SW; 3. Daniel Madio, Car.
   50 free -- 1. Mart, SW, 23.78; 2. Erik Blodgett, Car; 3. Koehler, SW.
   Diving -- 1. Andrew Feeser, SW, 148.15.
   100 fly -- 1. Aaron Shy, SW, 1:01.80; 2. Ballou, SW; 3. Dalton Buchow, Car.
   100 free -- 1. Mart, SW, 51.73; 2. Blodgett, Car; 3. Joe Maxwell, SW.
   500 free -- 1. Good, SW, 5:18.72; 2. Myers, Car; 3. D. Maxwell, SW.
   200 free relay -- 1. Carlisle (Blodgett, Noah Chirico, Myers, William Hinthorn), 1:36.67; 2. South Western 3. South Western.
   100 back -- 1. Grim, SW, 57.84; 2. Sean MacDonald, SW; 3. Shy, SW.
   100 breast -- 1. Koehler, SW 1:04.02 2. Green, SW 3. Madio, Car.
   400 free relay -- 1. South Western (Mart, Good, Green, Grim) 3:33.44; 2. Carlisle; 3. Carlisle.
  
Tuesday's Girls' Result
   South Western 121, Carlisle 59
  

SOUTH WESTERN 121, CARLISLE 59
   200 medley relay -- 1. South Western (Noelle Robinson, Alison Sell, Emma Maas, Briannah Rohrbaugh) 2:07.19; 2. South Western 2:16.40; 3. Carlisle 2:16.77.
   200 free -- 1. Kelly Strahosky, Car, 2:08.71; 2. Jessica Murray, Car; 3. Katie Rhone, SW.
   200 IM -- 1. Sell, SW, 2:25.93; 2. Charlotte Hammer, Car; 3. Maki Urakami, SW.
   50 free -- 1. Rohrbaugh, SW, 28.14; 2. Madison Halpenny, SW; 3. Alisyn Hildebrand, SW.
   Diving -- 1. Maison Hammen, SW, 174.50; 2. Gabrielle Heilman, SW.
   100 fly -- 1. Maas, SW, 1:10.63; 2. Alicia Sigmon, SW; 3. Robinson, SW.
   100 free -- 1. Rohrbaugh, SW, 1:01.80; 2. Halpenny, SW; 3. Krista Wyrick, Car.
   500 free -- 1. Kelly Strahosky, Car, 5:47.56; 2. Rhone, SW; 3. Katie Derreth, SW.
   200 free relay -- 1. South Western (Robinson, Sell, Derreth, Rohrbaugh), 1:56.37; 2. Carlisle; 3. South Western.
   100 back -- 1. Charlotte Hammer, Car, 1:10.04; 2. Robinson, SW; 3. Sigmon, SW.
   100 breast -- 1. Sell, SW, 1:13.52; 2. Abigail Gatz, SW; 3. Maggie Brehm, Car.
   400 free relay -- 1. Carlisle (Hammer, Murray, Parmeter, Strahosky), 4:17.02 2. South Western; 3. South Western.