Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

The 2011 PSAC Championships are underway at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsville, Pa., hosted by Edinboro University. The competition began Thursday, Feb. 17, and will end on Sunday, Feb. 20. The men’s swimming team is facing seven teams: Bloomsburg, Clarion, Edinboro, Gannon, Indiana and Shippensburg. As 12-time defending champions, the Rams seek to tie all-time PSAC men’s swimming championships with Clarion. West Chester has earned 23 titles overall, trailing just behind Clarion, who has earned 24 wins.

West Chester came out with a bang, as sophomore Tommy Rhoads placed second in the 1,000-yard freestyle, conquering 20 other swimmers in the opening race of the Championships.

Rhoads was expected to deliver stellar performances after being named “Freshman of the Year” at the PSAC’s in 2010. Rhoads has also earned his fourth individual all-conference honor at the Championships up to this point.

After the first day of competition, Gannon was leading the men’s Championships with 39 points. West Chester was a close second with 37 points, while Indiana trailed with 18 points.

Tyler Adams, another distance swimmer, placed fourth with an NCAA ‘B’ time of 9:40:45.

Day one on the women’s side also started off on a good note. The women’s swimming team is going head-to-head with nine other schools including East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield and Millersville.

As the four-time defending champions, these athletes are seeking to win their fifth straight conference title. At the close of day one, the Golden Rams were leading the competition with 36 points, followed by Bloomsburg with 29 points, and Indiana with 18 points.

West Chester holds the top seed in four events, including 800 free relay, 200 IM and both the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

In all, 30 women took to the pool, but it was West Chester’s senior distance swimmer, Kristen Montello, who knocked out her competition in the 1,000-yard freestyle, earning a first place slot in the opening race of the Championships.

Montello took the title of both the 1,000-yard and 500 freestyle events in 2010. Montello’s closest competition was Shippensburg’s Amy Fisher who had the top PSAC time in both events.

Montello gave the crowd an exciting race as she trailed behind Fisher for much of the swim. As the race neared the finish line, Montello evened out with, and eventually passed Fisher for the Rams’ first individual conference title at the Championships.

Montello swam 1,000 yards in 10:15.50, just missing an NCAA ‘A’ qualifying time of 10:14.79 seconds. She defeated her closest competition by 2.45 seconds.

West Chester’s Kenny McCormick exhibited impressive performances at the 2010 Championships, winning three individual titles and two relay titles, while also earning the title, “Swimmer of the Meet.” McCormick is the defending champion in the 200 individual medley, 400 IM and 200 butterfly; he has surpassed top-five national times in the 200 IM and the 400 IM.

McCormick earned his second title in the 200-yard individual medley , completing the race in 1:50.58 seconds. Teammate Brendan Magarity came in third and Kevin Moyer came in fifth.

McCormick, along with Phil Letcavage, Calvin Sarosta and Ryan Stahley, made up the winning 400 medley team, touching the wall in 3:22.48 seconds.

Sarosta, Rhodes, Stahley and Josh Pauley registered the win in the 200 free relay team with a time of 1:22.47 seconds.

West Chester also came up big with a one-two finish in the 500 free. Rhodes took the title with a time of 4:35.68 seconds, which was an NCAA ‘B’ time. Stahley came behind him in 20.77 seconds.

After day two, the men’s swimming team took the first place slot, leading the way with 236 points. Clarion trailed behind with 192 points, Shippensburg was in third with 147 and Edinboro in fourth with 134.5 points.

Erin Fisher, West Chester’s defending champion in the 200 butterfly, started day too off with a win after conquering the 200 individual medley. Fisher qualified with an NCAA’B’ time, finishing the 200 IM in 2:06.71.

Fisher also contributed to a win in the 400 medley relay team.

Fisher’s accomplishments lead to the extension of West Chester’s lead. After day two, the Rams were leading the Championships with 194 points; Clarion took over second place with 163 points, and Indiana was in third with 127 points, with California sitting in the fourth spot with 121 points.

The 400 IM medley relay was composed of Fisher and Buckley, as well as high school teammates Megan Winslow and Mia Barone. The swimmers completed the relay with an NCAA qualifying time of 3:48.95 seconds.

Montello contributed to West Chester’s lead again on day two with a second place title in the 500, coming in with an NCAA ‘B’ time of 5:00.87 seconds.

Doss placed eighth in the 500 with a time of five minutes and 12.40 seconds.

After two full days of competition behind them, the West Chester men’s and women’s swimming teams appeared to be the ones to beat. Both sitting in the first place slots, the teams entered the remaining two days of the Championships with confidence.

The PSAC Swimming Championships will continued on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 beginning with the preliminaries at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m., which will feature the 200 medley relay, 400 IM and 100 butterfly.

Brynn Dougherty is a third-year student at West Chester University. She can be reached at BD670913@wcupa.edu.

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