I discussed relays yesterday, so in lieu of a full preview, allow me to point out a few of the things I’ll be looking for this weekend as the Central League Championships kick off Friday and Saturday.
– The best race Saturday may be against history. Anthony Richardson enters with the top seed in the 500 free, a time nearly nine seconds faster than his nearest competition. But the most interesting aspect of his race will be to see if the Garnet Valley senior, seeded with a time of 4:41.53, can come close to toppling the meet record set by Haverford legend Bob Gavin in 1983 at 4:40.92. Gavin holds the county record, set in 1984 at 4:32.24.
– The Haverford girls medley relay team enters the meet with a time over a half-second under the meet record, set in 2006. It looks like they may load up that relay with Maddie Hart, Annie O’Brien, Emily Wolfe and Candace Brown to make a run at the record. They could be in the 1:50-high neighborhood.
– Rounding out the discussion of potential records, Tatyana Smolyansky is in the neighborhood of the meet record in the 100 backstroke, set in 2006 by Beth Grube of Upper Darby at 59.16. Smolyansky’s season-best time is a 59.64 and the home-pool advantage.
– The youthfulness of the girls field has been remarkable this year, outstanding freshmen like Frances Resweber, Kiera Wadsworth, Hart and Lauren Woznicki among a very talented class. That youth movement is no more evident than in the 200 free, in which the top seeded senior, Strath Haven’s Emily Morrissette, is 12th. That’s 11 underclassmen leading the way. Resweber has earned the top seed, followed by Radnor sophomore Laura Packer.
– My early choice for race of the day: The girls 100 freestyle. The final heat will feature six swimmers with times under 56 seconds, all separated by six tenths. The top seed, Conestoga’s Grace Wydeven, clocks in at 55.18. But the field will be hot on her heels. Second is Penncrest’s Mary Kate Boylan (55.33), followed by Garnet Valley’s Skyler Berrardi (55.55) and Lauren Minford (55.59), Springfield’s Kylene Ronayne (55.57) and Wydeven’s teammate Allison Kirkby (55.75). That will be one tense minute.
– One of the other best battles may be the girls 200 individual medley, where a trio of swimmers is clustered around the 2:16 mark. All-Delco Lauren Early has set the pace this season at 2:16.05. She’s followed closely by Nikki Bookwalter of Conestoga (2:16.08) and Evie Cai of Radnor (2:16.43). Cai (1:07.39) and Early (1:08.70) will also battle in the 100 breaststroke, an event in which Early set the meet record of 1:06.68 a season ago.
– It would be nice to see something big out of the Central League boys sprint contingent. Beyond just the exploits of Shane Ryan last year, District One did go 1-2 at states (North Penn’s Jason Deana). It took 21.93 for District One’s eight and final states representative to get in, and no one in the Central League Delco contingent has yet to break 22.5. I would think someone has to have a 21-high in them somewhere.
– I touched on the stroke depth of Haverford in the relay post. But it’s worth noting that the final heat of the girls 100 butterfly will feature three Fords: second-seeded Hart, No. 3 Wolfe and No. 5 Kelly Devlin.
– It may have been a down year for Conestoga in the dual meet season, but the name of a Pioneer appears on the top line in four of the eight individual events, the only exceptions being Richardson in the 200 and 500, Haverford’s Brendan Ryan in the 100 back and Radnor’s Mitchell Gartland in the 100 breast.