Raider swimmers sweep Panther Vy.
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Jason Gates of Panther Valley finished second in the breaststroke.
Tamaqua hasn't won a Schuylkill League girls swimming championship since 1999, but the Lady Raiders have stamped themselves as the clear frontrunners this season.
Against Panther Valley, the Raiders showed no signs of letting up, rolling to a 118-56 victory Thursday at the Tamaqua Area Natatorium.
The Tamaqua boys made it a sweep by cruising to a 108-21 triumph.
The Raider girls finished first in eight of the 12 events to remain unbeaten in league competition at 4-0 (8-1 overall).
The Lady Tams have racked up 112 points or more in each of their four Schuylkill meets.
"They are definitely where we want to be," said Tamaqua coach Eric Lech. "They are focused on winning the league championship.
"Panther Valley presented somewhat of a challenge because they have some quality swimmers, but our girls practice every day like they mean it, and it showed."
It was Senior Appreciation Day, and seniors Schuyler Schmidt (100 freestyle, medley relay) and Alaina Reese (diving) produced first place finishes for the Raiders.
Tamaqua also has underclassmen contributing. Junior Megan Wagner won the backstroke, while sophomore Caroline Kanaskie (200 freestyle) and freshmen Joann Butkus (100 butterfly) and Miranda Amey (500 freestyle) also touched the wall first in individual races.
The Raiders also took two of the three relays, with Kanaskie, Butkus, Schmidt and freshman Carly Trovinger teaming to win the medley, and Amey, Wagner, Kanaskie and senior Jordan Nowacki capturing the 400 free relay.
"The girls had some good swims. We had Schuyler gut out a win in the 100 free (against the Panthers' Lexi Follweiler), and Megan Wagner won the 100 backstroke against Brittany Erbe when we knew that would be a close race," noted Lech. "Miranda Amey keeps chipping away at her time in the 500."
Panther Valley (1-3 overall and league) doesn't have the depth to match Tamaqua but still managed to get a pair of wins from Karoline Vavra (50 freestyle, breaststroke), while Follweiler outdueled Schmidt in the 200 I.M.
The Panthers also won the 200 free relay behind Erbe, Follweiler, Vavra and Richelle Van Horn.
"I'm never going to apologize for our numbers. We work with the kids we have," said Panther Valley coach Geri Vavra, whose squad was missing a contributor in Lauren Cormier. "I saw improvement in spots, as well as areas we have to work on."Tamaqua is a strong team, and it's good for us to come in here and gauge where we're going," she added.
On the boys side, the Raiders (5-4 overall, 2-2 league) are in transition after winning the Schuylkill crown last year, but their depth was too much for the Panthers (0-4 overall and league), producing firsts in eight of the 10 contested races.
Senior Dane DeWire continued to roll in the diving competition, with a score of 307.40 points. DeWire also won the 100 free and swam on two winning relays.
Senior Sam Tuckett , who won the I.M., was also on both first place relays, as was senior Devin Smith.
Freshman Jordan Frank (butterfly, breaststroke) won two races and frosh Jake Kropp captured the backstroke. Tho Duc Le and Zak Yachera also helped out in the winning relays.
"The way Dane is diving, there are no words to describe how great he's doing," said Lech.
"On the guys side, they are showing good signs. Jake Kropp hit his best times of the season, and he just started swimming in October. That kind of improvement is encouraging."
The Panthers got first places from Jason Gates in the 200 freestyle and Michael Sloboda in the 50 free.
Panther Valley 21
200 medley relay - 1. Tamaqua (Dane DeWire, Tho Duc Le, Sam Tuckett, Devin Smith) 2:05.75, 2. Tamaqua.
200 freestyle - 1. Jason Gates (PV) 2:10.58, 2. Calvin Troxell (T), 3. Evan Stoll (T).
200 I.M. - 1. Sam Tuckett (T) 2:29.41, 2. Matt Stanek (T).
50 freestyle - 1. Michael Sloboda (PV) 25.83, 2. Devin Smith (T), 3. Jacob Beers (T).
Diving - 1. Dane DeWire (T) 307.40.
100 butterfly - 1. Jordan Frank (T) 1:01.85, 2. Sloboda (PV), 3. Zak Yachera (T).
100 freestyle - 1. DeWire (T) 53:31, 2. Jake Kropp (T), 3. Dan Starry (T)
500 freestyle - No event.
200 freestyle relay - 1. Tamaqua (Tuckett, Smith, Yachera, DeWire) 1:42.64, 2. Tamaqua.
100 backstroke - 1. Kropp (T) 1:10.99, 2. Stoll (T), 3. Stanek (T).
100 breaststroke - 1. Frank (T) 1:07.51, 2. Nate Leibensperger (T), 3. Troxell (T).
400 freestyle relay - No event.
Tamaqua 118, Panther Valley 56
200 medley relay - 1. Tamaqua (Caroline Kanaskie, Carly Trovinger, Joann Butkus, Schuyler Schmidt) 2:03.35, 2. Panther Valley, 3. Tamaqua.
200 freestyle - 1. Caroline Kanaskie (T) 2:08.05, 2. Miranda Amey (T), 3. Chloe Hartung (T).
200 I.M. - 1. Alexia Follweiler (PV) 2:24.41, 2. Schmidt (T), 3. Trovinger (T).
50 freestyle - 1. Karoline Vavra (PV) 25.67, 2. Jordan Nowacki (T), 3. Andrea Whitley (T).
Diving - 1. Alaina Reese (T) 145.25, 2. Ashley Van Buren (T).
100 butterfly - 1. Joann Butkus (T) 1:04.81, 2. Emily Bumbulsky (T), 3. Sarah Branchide (PV).
100 freestyle - 1. Schmidt (T) 58.50, 2. Follweiler (PV), 3. Brittany Erbe (PV).
500 freestyle - 1. Miranda Amey (T) 5:49.56, 2. Ashley Van Buren (T), 3. Aleida Van Buren (T).
200 freestyle relay - 1. Panther Valley (Brittany Erbe, Richelle Van Horn, Alexia Follweiler, Karoline Vavra) 1:50.14, 2. Tamaqua.
100 backstroke - 1. Megan Wagner (T) 1:08.35, 2. Erbe (PV), 3. Makayla Boyle (T).
100 breaststroke - 1. Vavra (PV) 1:13.08, 2. Butkus (T), 3. Bumbulsky (T).
400 freestyle relay - 1. Tamaqua (Amey, Nowacki, Wagner, Kanaskie) 4:14.98, 2. Tamaqua, 3. Panther Valley.