S. ABINGTON TWP. — Abington Heights head coach Zack Haney knew early on that Lauren Schofield had a lot of talent.
The freshman swimmer had an impressive performance in the Kinney Natatorium High School Invitational at Bucknell University Dec. 16 and continued to improve throughout the season.
“Right from the get-go, she won the 200 individual medley against swimmers from all across the state and got third in the 100 butterfly,” Haney said. “I could already tell that her hard work was paying off and she was a competitor. We knew she really enjoyed the sport and we knew we had something special.”
Schofield set school records in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley (IM) throughout the season and placed first in the 200 IM at the District 2-4 Class 3A Subregional Championship at the Wilkes-Barre CYC to qualify for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 3A Swimming Championships March 14-17 at Bucknell University. She also placed second in the 100 butterfly at districts in 58.73.
“We knew she was going to give her absolute best,” Haney said. “I think she was very satisfied and we were more than ecstatic about the way she performed.”
Schofield will now shift her attention to the 200 IM in preparation for the state meet.
“We’re a lot more focused now because she’s only in one event at states versus four at districts,” Haney said. “I think there is still a little more that she might be able to do, but we have a big challenge ahead of us. These are the biggest schools and the competition is really stiff.”
Haney isn’t putting any pressure on the young swimmer and believes it will be a great learning experience.
“I just want her to go enjoy the experience, have fun, and be a competitor,” he said. “If she makes it past the first swim, that would be fantastic, but I really just want her to soak it all in and look forward to the years to come.”
Schofield wasn’t the only Abington Heights swimmer to excel at districts and Haney was pleased with the outcome from the tournament.
“My main focus is making sure each kid, whether they’re seeded first or last, gets their personal best time and shows some improvement,” Haney said. “We had a lot of girls and boys swim the best times of their careers.”
Freshman Abby Brock was fourth in 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:13.49.
“She swam the same event the day before for the Abington Gators in the age-group swim league and dropped five seconds off her seed time,” Haney said. “I was already extremely impressed and then she really attacked the race at districts and dropped another second. She was seeded seventh and she moved up to fourth. It was a really stellar performance.”
Brock was also 10th in the 50 freestyle (27.77).
Three other Abington Heights girls had top-10 finishes.
Junior Sarah Bath was eighth in the 100 freestyle (1:01.26) and ninth in the 100 backstroke (1:09.77). Senior April Sokalsky placed fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:05.60) and 200 freestyle (2:07.74). Sophomore Peyton Gualtieri was eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.38).
“All of our girls, from the ones who just started this year up to the more experienced swimmers, swam really well, especially on the second day,” Haney said.
Six members of the boys team also finished in the top 1o at the district meet.
“They trained very well and we had a lot of improvements from the top to the bottom,” Haney said.
Junior Josh Przekop placed second in the 50 freestyle (22.33) and fifth in the 100 freestyle (50.48).
“He was looking to go under 23 (seconds) and surpassed that by quite a bit,” Haney said. “I thought that was an extremely good race.”
Sophomore Jarred Ocwieja was fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:53.13) and sixth in the 100 freestyle (50.88).
“I was expecting good things from him in the 200, and he swam an extremely smart race and dropped six or seven seconds,” Haney said. “He only had been under two minutes once (this season) and he went significantly under. I wasn’t even looking at the time until he finished and that was great.”
Junior John Frantz placed fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:06.96) and sixth in the 200 IM (2:12.30).
“He passed two or three kids in the second half of the (500),” Haney said. “He dropped 13 seconds from his personal best time and swam must faster than I expected. He really pushes himself to his limits and it showed.”
Junior Sloan Seid was ninth in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.82), junior Jack Wasko placed 10th in the 500 freestyle (5:43.73), and junior John Graham was 10th in the 200 IM (2:36.24).
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3942 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.