By DENNY DYROFF
Journal Register News Service
MIDDLETOWN, Del. -- At Saturday’s DISC (Delaware Independent School Conference) Swimming and Diving Championships, the girls of Westtown School’s swim team finished as bridesmaids for the second year in a row.
Just as they did last year, the Quakers finished in second place -- just a few points behind conference champion Tatnall School. This year, the Hornets finished first in the annual meet at St. Andrew School’s Genereaux Aquatic Center with 75 points, while the Westtown girls were a close second with 72.
They may have been bridesmaids this year, but the Quakers definitely caught the bouquet. With only one senior -- Ali Bennett -- in its lineup along with a highly-talented seventh-grader coming up (Sarah Murray), Westtown School is poised to be the favorite at next year’s DISC Championships.
Bennett fared well in her final DISC meet with a win in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:11.25 and a bronze-medal finish in the 50 freestyle at 26.49.
"That was my fastest time this year in breaststroke -- maybe my fastest time ever," said Bennett. "I really wanted to win for the team. I started out long and felt strong from the beginning. But, I lost my kick a little in the last 25. My 50 free was all right. I did what I had to do to get third for the team."
The Quakers had two other individual winners -- Alyce-Faye Eichelberger, who was first in the 200 IM at 2:15.58 and second in the 100 backstroke at 1:00.31, and Katie Schick, who won the 100 free with a time of 57.89 and was third in the 200 free at 2:06.82.
"My IM felt really good," said Eichelberger, a freshman. "I was really excited for that. My coach told me to sprint each stroke like it was a 50. All my strokes felt good. My time was the same as my seeded time so I’m happy with that.
"At Easterns, I’ll probably swim the 100 back and the 100 free. I finished second in back today with a 1:00.3. My best is a 57 but I’m happy with today’s time. Tatnall’s Kaitlyn Jones, the girl who won, is really good."
Katie Schick, a junior, said, "I was happy with the 100 because I was feeling bad. I’ve been sick this week with a sinus infection and I had trouble breathing today. I’m happy that I won for the team. The 200 free was just about surviving it. It was a hard race. Right now, I’m just trying to get ready for Easterns."
Steph Schick, Katie’s older sister (by 30 minutes), added key scoring with silver-medal finishes in the 50 freestyle at 25.91 and the 100 free at 1:03.31.
"I’m sick too," said Steph Schick. "We’re twins so we got sick at the same time. I was happy with my times today. They weren’t far off my best times. And, they were my best untapered times this season.
"I’m not sure what my individual events will be at Easterns. We’re just really focusing on our relays. We want to make it back to the championship finals at Easterns -- to be in the top eight."
At Saturday’s DISC meet, the four talented swimmers joined forces to win the gold medal in the 200 freestyle relay and the silver medal in the 200 medley relay.
The top performer for Westtown’s boys at Saturday’s meet in central Delaware was Christian Carmellini. The Quakers’ speedy junior captured the gold medal in the 200 free and followed with a silver-medal finish in the 100 butterfly.
"I haven’t swum the 200 free all year," said Carmellini. "I’ve been swimming the 400 instead to build my endurance and get ready for Easterns. I expected to go under two minutes today and I did. I was really confident with my turns and I had a consistent tempo the whole time."