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Swimming: Council Rock teams celebrate 50 years of swimming


This year’s double dual swim meet between Council Rock North and Council Rock South was extra special.

It marked the 50th anniversary of Council Rock swimming.

Both programs marked the occasion prior to the meet, held on Friday at CR North.

CR North girls won, 110-76, and the CR North boys triumphed by a score of 94-81, but both schools had good swims so they each ended the Suburban One League National Conference dual meet season on a high note.

Both teams share the pool at CR North, which was the visitor this year.

Council Rock North, which was originally Council Rock, opened in the fall of 1969, which marked the beginning of a full-fledged aquatics program.

Inaugural coaches Will Reeser for the boys and Ed McHugh, the girls coach, were in attendance.

In addition to coaching the boys team, Reeser served as the aquatics director for Council Rock. Brian Johnson, a 1992 Council Rock alum who swam for Reeser, is the current head coach and aquatics director. Current girls coach Greg Parker served as the boys coach in between Reeser and Johnson.

The program has produced 11 state champions who won a total of 21 gold medals between them.

Boys champions include six-time state titlist Frank Lichtner, who won the 200- and 400-yard freestyles in 1968, defended both in 1969, won the 400 freestyle in 1970 and the 200 freestyle in 1971; Bob McHenry (diving, 1974); Bob Carmody (100 butterfly, 1999); and Chuck Venuto (diving, 2001).

Girls champions are Beth Wallace, who won the 200 freestyle in 1973 and defended it in 1974; Carol Frost (100 breaststroke, 1981); Alison Nemeth (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke, 1991); Jacqui Schoppe (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 1996); Sharon Leary (200 freestyle, 2001); Tricia Harm (100 butterfly, 2001; 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 2002); and Tommie Dillione (Council Rock North, 200 freestyle, 2014).

The PIAA split swimming into two classifications beginning in 1993, so all state champions from 1993-present are Class 3A titlists. The 400 freestyle was replaced by the 500 freestyle prior to the start of the 1973-74 season.

After the pre-meet festivities, the teams got down to business.

Abby Henderson and Ellie Brandbergh both won two individual events for CR North. Henderson won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:10.04 and the 500 freestyle (5:14.63) while Brandbergh was first in both the 100 freestyle (54.15) and 100 backstroke (58.68).

Cristina Calibeo won the 200 freestyle (2:01.79), Jamie Traub won diving (194.55 points) and Callie Haggerty took first in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.28) for the Indians.

Henderson, Emily Nelson, Brandbergh and Haggerty opened up the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay (1:51.43) and Brandbergh, Haggerty, Calibeo and Henderson won the 200 freestyle (1:42.07).

CR North boys took first in every event.

Jack Henderson won the 50 freestyle (22.68) and 100 freestyle (50.93), Dominic Edwards was the winner of both the 200 individual medley (1:57.07) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.58) and Will Higgins touched first in both the 200 freestyle (1:51.44) and 100 backstroke (54.93) for the Indians.

Luke Dotson captured diving (308.85 points) and Jackson Eshelman was first in the 100 butterfly (55.10) to round out the individual events for CR North.

Martin Vradikskiy, Edwards, Eshelman and Caleb Chryst won the 200 medley relay (1:39.40), Chryst, Austin Ruggles, Michael Kiedaisch and Henderson were first in the 200 freestyle relay (1:32.06) and Higgins, Henderson, Vradinskiy and Edwards ended the meet with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay (3:29.85).

“This is a very important meet for us,” said Chyrst, a senior. “This team has been together for so long and I just love seeing all my teammates do so well. It means a lot.

“I knew this was the 50th year of Council Rock swimming and it was nice to have something to acknowledge that.

“This was a nice end to the regular season so now we’ll make the push for champs, districts and hopefully states.”

He participates in Autism Cares, the Asian Association and the Diversity Committee at CR North.

“I have a few choices for college but I’m aiming at continuing my academic and athletic career at Ithaca,” he said. “I got accepted into the Park School of Communications to major in filmmaking television and radio.”

For CR South girls, Kellsey Robinson, who is Johnson’s niece, won the 50 freestyle (25.35) and Miranda Olhasso won the 100 butterfly (1:00.61).

Lydia Devlin, Maggie Sjostedt, Robinson and Carolyn Hearn teamed up to win the 400 freestyle relay (3:50.95).

“It was a really exciting meet,” said CR South senior Bryan Rue. “It was especially exciting for me because I was transferred to the ‘A’ relay at the last minute in the 400 free.

“At first I was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do?’ but by the time I got to the blocks I was like, ‘Just swim your heart out and do the best you can against these behemoths so I did. Honestly, it was one of the best moments of the entire season for me.

“This meet always has so much going on. I knew it was the 50th anniversary of swimming at Council Rock but I didn’t know they were going to have a whole presentation. That was really cool.

“Even though we have this big rivalry with each other we don’t hate each other. It’s always just fun to race against them.”

He hasn’t chosen a college yet but is considering a major in computer science or engineering.

After the meet, both teams honored their seniors.

CR North seniors include Trevor Johnson, Higgins, Chryst, Ryan So, Jack Henderson, Vradinsky, Abby Henderson, Paige Schluchterer, Brandbergh, Traub and Giavonna Sabatini.

CR South’s seniors are Bram Topham, Mike Magee, Rue, Liam Cromwell, Anthony Karry, Jessi Pizzullo, Caroline Ridings, Jackie Gringolts, Sjostedt, Milena Saca, Stephanie Luzeckyj and Katariina Autere.