Gwynedd-Mercy out to rule the pool The Monarchs are seeking their fifth straight Class AA title at the District 1 swim meet.

Posted: February 15, 2002

Gwynedd-Mercy Academy will go for an unprecedented fifth straight PIAA District 1 Class AA girls' swimming championship this afternoon.

The competition, which begins at 3:30 p.m. for boys and girls, is part of the district's two-day championship program at West Chester University's South Campus pool.

Class AAA action is scheduled for tomorrow. The boys are scheduled to start at 9 a.m., followed by the girls at 2:15 p.m.

Gwynedd-Mercy went 10-4 in the dual-meet season and is a favorite to repeat this afternoon. The Monarchs' stiffest competition today should come from Nazareth (which beat Gwynedd-Mercy by one point in a dual meet), Radnor and Garnet Valley.

Veterans Kara Boland, Diane Duncheskie, Sarah Jeffers and Kourtney McMenamin are four of Gwynedd-Mercy's top performers. Although McMenamin, a junior, has been hampered by a shoulder injury, she said she is ready to go.

"I'm fine. I've been training hard and taking physical therapy to work through it," said McMenamin, who is seeded second in the 200-yard individual medley and third in the 100 breaststroke. "I'm going all-out to make states."

Boland, a senior who is headed to Tennessee, is the top seed in the 200 and 500 freestyle races. She's the only sub-five-minute swimmer in the 500 field after qualifying with a time of 4 minutes, 55.2 seconds. The district record is 4:54.98.

In the 200 freestyle, her qualifying time of 1:55.32 is three seconds off the district record.

"I want to go for the records," Boland said. "The 200 free will be the hardest one."

Duncheskie and Jeffers also are top seeds, Jeffers in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke and Duncheskie in the 100 breaststroke. The Monarchs' 4x50 and 4x100 freestyle relay teams are also top seeds. Nazareth is the top seed in the 4x50 medley relay.

In Class AAA girls' competition, Council Rock and West Chester East could battle for the team title.

"That's only numbers on paper," said Council Rock's Tricia Harm, referring to the seedings.

Harm, a senior, is the top seed in the 200 IM. West Chester East's Kelly Nelson is the second seed. Harm is the second seed in the 200 freestyle behind teammate Sharon Leary.

Nelson's sister Kathleen is the top seed in the 50 freestyle, and she will face Hatboro-Horsham's Kelsey Morrissy, the No. 2 seed and defending champ. Their seeds are reversed in the 100 freestyle.

East also hopes to pick up big points in the relays.

"We battled the flu like a lot of teams but everybody's back," Council Rock coach Scott Leventhal said. In addition to East, he expects Pennsbury, Souderton and West Chester Henderson to provide the competition.

North Penn is expected to take the boys' Class AAA title for the 16th straight year. But Upper Dublin, Council Rock and Conestoga, with its strongest squad in several years, could make things interesting for the Knights.

"We should have some great races," Conestoga coach Mark Tirone said. "We match up with their times very well in some races, especially in the medley relay."

"If we do very well in the relays, we have a strong chance against North Penn," said Jack Hutchinson, who will swim the 500 freestyle, 200 IM and at least one relay for the Pioneers.

With Owen J. Roberts moving up to Class AAA, defending champion Radnor appears to be the team to beat in the boys' Class AA competition. Garnet Valley should be among the contenders.

Don Beideman's e-mail address is

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