Villa Maria Academy swimming coach Cathy Hay has high expectations for her team, but there is a sad note to this campaign.
Hay, whose Hurricanes again look to be the class of PIAA District 1 Class AA, is without her husband and sidekick, John, a highly respected track and cross-country coach who also coached swimming at West Chester Henderson for several seasons. He died Aug. 15 of respiratory failure at age 66.
The two met at West Chester State Teachers College, now West Chester University.
"He kind of fell into swimming," said Hay, who was a swimmer in those days. "He was not a swimmer, but he became manager of the men's swim team."
He was always at her side to offer advice and encouragement after she took over the Villa Maria program.
Although her husband may not be on the pool apron any more, Hay said, she knows he is watching over her team.
The Hurricanes appear loaded with the return of several key swimmers and the addition of promising freshmen.
One of the young returnees is sophomore Sarah Hitchens. Add sophomore Kaitlyn Alvanos, a transfer from Downingtown East, and freshman Olivia Tierney, and it makes for a deep lineup. Hitchens starred last season in the freestyle and backstroke events.
"I believe Tierney has the ability to make states in the backstroke and IM," Hay said.
Veterans Lauren Law and Molly O'Brien were individual double winners Saturday as Villa topped Great Valley, 118-62. Villa won nine events, scoring sweeps of the top three spots in four of them.
Colonials on a roll. Plymouth Whitemarsh established bowling as a varsity sport in 2004. Coach Jeff Blizzard says his girls' team this season could be the best he's had. Last season, the Colonials were third in their division in the Suburban One League, their best finish ever.
"We've got some young bowlers who could make us better than we've ever been," Blizzard said. "We have a strong supporting cast."
He expects veterans Lauren Enslin, Dani Rosenberg, and Brittany Clemens, along with freshman Jamie Puglielli, to carry the team.
Enslin, a four-year member of the team, said this could be a big payoff year. The Colonials' anchor, she usually rolls in the 160-to-170 range.
"I'm so excited," said Enslin, who started bowling in fourth grade for her elementary school. "We've usually been in the middle of the pack. I think we have a shot at winning [a championship], although we have some tough matches."
The Colonials will face Abington on Monday and North Penn on Wednesday.
Kosic makes a splash. West Chester Henderson swimmer Andrew Kosic has been excelling in scholastic and national competition.
Two weekends ago, Kosic sampled the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, where he will swim in college, winning the 100-yard freestyle in the Speedo junior national short-course championships. He also took second in the 50 free, fourth in the 200 free, and fifth in the 100 butterfly during the three-day event. His point total was good enough for fifth place overall.
"I was certainly happy with that," Kosic said. "And I got out of a few classes for a couple of days."
His best finish the year before was 10th in the 100 butterfly.
His success continued last week in Henderson's opening nonleague dual meet at Methacton.
He led off Henderson's 200-yard medley relay team, which set a Methacton pool record in 1 minute, 40.19 seconds. Henderson had held the old mark of 1:41.11.
Kosic also helped the 400 freestyle relay team set another pool mark in 3:23.37. In leading off that relay, he set a pool record of 45.75 seconds for the 100. The 17-year-old Kosic also bettered the pool mark in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.10.
He set another pool mark in the 100 backstroke with a time of 51.37.
"I've just been feeling good lately," Kosic said.