Girls Swimming: Ronayne throwing the field a curve with her 200 free

By this time in the season, things in the pool are generally pretty well set. Swimmers have their expected championship programs whittled down to their two events, maybe still mulling over a third as a late-minute substitute, that their training is focused on. What you see is what you’re going to get.

That paradigm made Kylene Ronayne’s performances at a club meet two weekends ago all the more impressive.

Springfield's Kylene Ronayne, here swimming the 200 IM in a dual meet against Upper Darby, is emerging as a district contender in the 200 freestyle. (Times Staff / ROBERT J. GURECKI)

Springfield’s Kylene Ronayne, here swimming the 200 IM in a dual meet against Upper Darby, is emerging as a district contender in the 200 freestyle. (Times Staff / ROBERT J. GURECKI)

The Springfield junior uncorked a time of 1:55.79 at the MA Elite Meet in Sewell, N.J., Jan. 11. Had the time come in high school competition, it would’ve been the fastest in the county this season by almost a second – the current standard is Emma Seiberlich of Episcopal Academy’s time of 1:56.55. Among the non-EA contingent, Ronayne’s time of 1:59.14 is the fastest in the county. Her Elite Meet time is also nearly two seconds faster than the county standard last year, set by her Ridley Y teammate and Ridley High School All-Delco Dominique Montoya (1:57.60).

“It was crazy. I just saw my coach – I was in lane 1 – and I saw my coach by the pool, and he was cheering really, really loud,” said Ronayne, who rested for only a couple of days ahead of the meet. “And I could tell that I was going either really slow or really fast. I finished the race, and I was like, if I didn’t go fast, oh my gosh. Then I looked at the clock, and I was like, oh my gosh. I didn’t expect that at all.”

It’s an outstanding time for Ronayne, a very versatile swimmer who competed in districts last year in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly, finishing 16th and ninth, respectively. This year’s program was likely to include the 200 individual medley, but that could be subject to change.

“I’m coming into this year keeping an open mind,” Ronayne said. “I know that I can pretty much swim whatever I want at the end of the season depending on my times. But the 200 free definitely might be one of them.”

The 200 free may also present Ronayne with an opportunity to get to states. Last year, a staggering 12 District One swimmers went to states in the event, for which there are four automatic qualifiers from the region. The time of the four AQ was 1:54.05, and the 12th and final qualifier clocked in at 1:55.73, right in the neighborhood where Ronayne’s time already resides. Five of those 12 qualifiers last season were seniors.

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