By John Lohn
PHILADELPHIA, Penn., March 3. CALL it another ho-hum year at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming Championships, considered the elite prep school competition in the country.
Another Germantown Academy championship, and tons of sizzling times, including a national independent school record in the girls' 200-yard medley relay.
Under the direction of legendary coach Dick Shoulberg, Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.) rolled to the girls' championship, racking up 678 points at La Salle University’s Kirk Natatorium last weekend. The Peddie School (N.J.) finished second with 536 points, followed by Mercersburg Academy with 396 points.
The boys' crown went to La Salle College High, a longtime power in the Philadelphia Catholic League. After winning the National Catholic championship at Villanova University earlier this year, the Explorers notched their first Easterns title with a 420-point showing. Germantown Academy finished second with 376.5 points and Peddie was third with 355.5 points.
Although Germantown dominated on the team level, the highlight of the meet was the Peddie School’s Independent record in the medley relay. Behind the quartet of Annie Fittin, Megan Carlin, Caroline Kofol and Amywren Miller, Peddie clocked 1:45.03.
The time dipped under the former mark of 1:45.33, set by Germantown Academy in 2000. Ironically, the time was not a meet record as Peddie went 1:43.90 in 1995, while using an eighth-grader on the unit. Consequently, the time is not recognized as a record.
As Germantown Academy repeated its title from 2003, the Patriots received a number of stellar outings, including a pair of victories from sophomore Alicia Aemisegger. Aemisegger doubled in the 200 individual medley (2:01.02) and 500 freestyle (4:48.11). Her time in the I.M. established a meet record, breaking the former standard of 2:01.12, set in 1998 by Maddy Crippen, a Sydney Olympian.
Aemisegger led a sweep of the top three slots in the 500 by the Patriots, as Kirsten Jones (4:56.29) and Claire Crippen (4:58.35) followed.
Shoulberg’s gang also received wins from Jones in the 200 freestyle (1:51.10). The Patriots punctuated their championship with a win in the 400 freestyle relay, as Aemisegger, Lauren Sylvester, Teresa Crippen and Jones were timed in 3:27.87.
Claire and Teresa Crippen, in ninth and eighth grade, respectively, are the latest standouts from a sensational swimming family. Aside from Maddy Crippen’s Olympic exploits, Fran Crippen is among America’s elite distance freestylers as a sophomore at the University of Virginia.
The Peddie School also won the 200 free relay, with a time of 1:35.31, while Fittin took top honors in the backstroke (57.13) and 50 freestyle (24.13). Fittin went 23.79 in the prelims of the 50 free. Megan Carlin took the 100 Breaststroke in 1:05.10.
Miller, the anchor of Peddie’s medley relay, won the 100 freestyle in 51.84 while Mercersburg’s Kailey Morris claimed first in the 100 butterfly in 55.91. Katie Griffin of Seton Keough won the diving competition with an 11-dive score of 428.75.
On the male side, La Salle’s title run was fueled by victories in the freestyle relays. John Welsh, Kent Jaggers, Kevin Egan and Pat Gallagher clocked 1:25.55 in the 200 freestyle relay while Welsh, Adam DiMenna, Joel Worster and Gallagher went 3:07.89 in the 400 free relay. Gallagher split 20.64 on the anchor leg of the 200 unit and added a 45.22 split on the end of the 400 free relay.
Gallagher also had a stellar individual showing, as he won the 200 freestyle and took silver in the 500 freestyle. Gallagher had a time of 1:40.47 in the prelims of the 200 and won the final in 1:41.10. Gallagher was topped in the final of the 500 free by Devon Carr of Germantown Academy. Carr turned in a time of 4:34.97, with Gallagher hitting the wall in 4:36.63.
The Peddie School was well-represented, as it took the medley relay in 1:35.45 behind the foursome of Daniel O’Connor, Seok Jun Lee, Mihailo Haler and Roy-Allan Burch.
Lee secured a double in the 200 I.M. and 100 breast, as he posted times of 1:54.41 and 57.41. Burch took first place in the 50 freestyle with a mark of 21.02. He went 20.94 in prelims. Abed Kaaki of Mercersburg won the 100 butterfly (50.67) and the 100 free (46.54). The backstroke was claimed by Malvern Prep’s Greg Cummings, who posted a time of 51.91. The diving event was won by Doug Scott of the Gilman School with a score of 454.30.