Saturday February 11th, Villa Maria’s swim team competed in the 15th AACA championships at Upper Dublin High School, and for the 13th consecutive year Villa Maria came out on top. After a rare swim meet tie with Mount Saint Joseph’s last year, Villa was determined to come out fast at this year’s league championship meet.
Coach Cathy Hay set the tone early by putting out an all senior relay to start the meet. Villa’s seniors Hope Reynolds, Katelyn Chick, Olivia Giampietro, and Maura McManus didn’t let her down and got the team off to a great start with a win in the 200 yard Medley Relay in a time of 1:50.85, with a great Gwynedd team finishing second. McManus swam a great freestyle anchor (24.62) to secure the victory.
Next up, sophomore Alexa Turco kept the medals going with a 3rd place in the 200 yard Freestyle in a time of 2:01.29, followed closely by Caitlin Hamill (4th), Kyra Kowalewski (8th), Anna Curran (10th), and Caroline Wolfington (13th). In the 200 Individual Medley, Gwynedd’s Annie O’Dare paced the field with a beautiful swim in 2:10.21. Villa Maria stayed close with Chick (4th), Reynolds (5th), Katherine Fronczak (7th) and Mary Katherine Clark (12th) all earning points for the team. In the final event of the first session, the 50 freestyle, Villa showed its depth with seniors Giampietro and McManus finishing in a tie for 2nd (25.14), junior Nina Smith (4th) and senior Amy McHale (16th) all scoring for the team. At the first break Villa had jumped out to a 30 point lead over Mount Saint Josephs.
As the meet switched over to diving, diving coach Steve Curlee’s girls earned some very important points. MSJ diver Charlottte Whipple took first place, but with Villa’s Riley Miller taking 2nd and Alexa Fowler capturing 4th Villa increased its lead. Starting the second session, junior Kaitlyn Agger got the team fired up with a 1st place finish in the 100 Butterfly in a time of 58.53 just touching out Maddie McSorely from Nazareth (58.76). Joining Agger from Villa were Mary Katherine Clark (4th), Brenna Magness (5th), and Amy McHale (13th). In the 100 freestyle Villa started to put the meet away as McManus (53.96) and Giampietro (54.55) finished first and second, followed by Nina Smith (5th), Kira Buchler (9th) and Caitlin Hamill (12th). In the 500 Freestyle, Villa showed they could not only sprint but handle the distance as well with Agger taking 2nd in 5:09.74, Alexa Turco (5th), Fronczak (6th), Wolfington(11th), and Katie Regan(12th). In the final event of the second session, Villa’s 200 Yard Freestyle relay took second place behind Mount Saint Josephs. Villa had opened up a commanding 100 point lead in overall points.
As the final session started Villa kept the pressure on. In the 100 Backstroke, Kira Buchler took home the gold medal in 59.98, followed by Reynolds (4th), Magness(6th), and Kyra Kowalewksi(9th). In the 100 breaststroke Kaitlyn Chick led the way with a 5th place finish, followed by Regan (13th) and Curran (15th). The final event of the day was the 400 Yard Freestyle relay where Smith, Agger, Giampietro and McManus brought home the victory once again in 3:39.97 solidifying the championship.
The final tally had Villa come out on top, Mount Saint Josephs second, and Nazareth Academy third. Villa Maria girls had earned 5 gold, 6 silver, and a bronze. Villa’s strength lies in its depth as 20 swimmers scored points for the team which is how they won the meet. It is not about any one swimmer with this powerhouse but the strength these girls have together as a team. Coach Hay could not have been any prouder of the girls! It was a great day for all the girls who competed and cheered each other on. It was great to see so many girls from all the teams cheering everyone one and getting pictures at the end, regardless of the team they swim for. Next up for these girls will be the District 1 meet on March 2nd & 3rd. We know there are more great swims to come.