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South Western swimmers rip up records

The coaches at South Western are going to be really busy after the two-day YAIAA swimming championship meet.

Head coach Ray Evelan has some work to do updating the school’s record board — including changing a few marks that haven’t been disturbed for a couple of decades.

Thanks to Alex Yokem, John Gill, Todd Jones and Ben Shoul, Evelan will need to climb the lift in the Mustangs’ natatorium.

The foursome opened the boys’ meet on Thursday with a 200-yard medley relay time of 1:39.46 that not only earned a gold medal, but also broke a school record that stood since 1993.

“They’ve been building up to it for a long time,” Evelan said. “The last couple weeks, the team has been sick so we have them a little extra rest – not much because we want to save some for the district meet. Everybody got healthy at the right time and everything just clicked.”

A short while after the medley relay, Yokem did it individually, winning the 50 freestyle in 22.01 and taking down a record that dated to 1985. His teammate Gill earned a bronze medal in the race.

The same four Mustangs finished Thursday with a 1:28.67 that won the 200 free relay, and eclipsed another Mustangs mark from 1993.

“When we walked in here, we knew we could do it. There was no doubt about it,” Yokem said. “It’s very special. To think it’s been 20 years or 30 years since anyone has been able to touch them. It’s crazy.”

For someone is his final YAIAA championship meet, Yokem was glad to make South Western history, especially with his relay mates.

“You would think I would save up for the 50 free, but no, I gave it all out for my team,” he said. “I wanted to do that and we broke the record. I am so happy right now. Senior year, I don’t think it could have went any better.”

Gill and Yokem are experienced swimmers, but Jones is in only his second year of competitive swimming, while Shoul is in his third. Shoul placed third in the 100 butterfly on Friday.

Yokem placed third in Friday’s 100 free.

“I think what is more beautiful about it is, it’s just a collection of four guys that are working really hard,” Evelan said. “They are putting together one of the best seasons with personal best times I have seen and it’s really neat to see.”

While he admits to being excitable, Evelan couldn’t contain himself on the Central York pool deck.

“I heard I got a video on Twitter already. It was very exciting,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming. For some to go through no-win seasons and come back with a winning season, I am very happy for the kids.”

The Hanover area earned a sweep in the medley relay with Spring Grove taking second and New Oxford third.

Keating gets Rockets on top of podium

Spring Grove’s Abigayle Keating hoped she would drop time in Thursday’s girls’ 200 individual medley. The senior did that and more, swimming a 2:13.14 to take home gold – from lane seven.

“I just had the motivation to do the best I could. It was one of my goals this season to get a first at counties in some event,” she said. “(It helped) having such fast girls in the heat and also my teammates on the sideline cheering me on.”

On Friday, Keating took silver in the 500 free (5:16.81), second behind the record-setting swim of West York’s Courtney Harnish.

Other Hanover area medals

  • Gettysburg’s Jared Herr, who sang the national anthem both nights, placed second in boys’ 200 free and third in the 500 free. Fellow Warrior Nico DeAngelo II scored a silver medal in the 100 free.
  • Kyle DuPree of New Oxford was third in boys' 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Colonials teammates Alex Pecher was second in the 100 backstroke, and Lauren Richter earned bronze in the girls’ 100 free.  
  • The Spring Grove and Gettysburg boys' 400 free relays finished the meet strong with second and third-place swims, respectively.