The Red Raiders improved to 4-0 on the season
Both coaches felt it was the best swim meet of the season, but Pal-Mac's girls got a 102-78 win over Gananda Thursday night. With the victory, the Red Raiders are 4-0, while the Blue Panthers are 0-2.
Gananda coach Mark Sixbey said his girls had been looking forward to the backyard rivalry meeting with Pal-Mac, which was entertaining the Panthers in their home opener.
"I think 97 percent of our kids had their best times of the year," he said. "We're looking forward to one of our best seasons in a while. We're already faster than we were last year, the girls are working very hard, and they're really into the program. Tonight, they're just really finding out what they're capable of."
"This was a great way to start the home season," said Pal-Mac coach Chris Oaks. "Many of our girls drop a ton of times. We had great swims over the entire team, from our eighth graders to our seniors."
As much enthusiasm as there was in the pool area, everyone got a huge scare during the diving competition when Gananda senior Sarah Looney attempted a somersault and came down on the diving board head-first. Most people heard her head hit the board before they realized she had smacked it.
"I just wasn't thinking what I was doing," Looney said. "I just jumped off the board. I knew I was too close, but there was nothing I could do about it. I'm really fine. It doesn't hurt."
Gananda diving coach Ashley Lopez said Looney had gotten caught up in the moment. "It happens," she said. "She got just a little distracted, but you go for it, especially in a big meet."
The Panthers won a close 200 medley relay to start the event, edging Pal-Mac by 0.38. Dana Wilsey then won the 200 free (2:13.19) for Pal-Mac, followed by Ellie Jones' win in the 200 individual medley (2:24.58). When Raider Julia Evans grabbed a win in the 50 free (28.98), Pal-Mac had a 40-22 lead.
From that point on, the Raiders started to swamp Gananda. Pal-Mac ran a 1-2-3 finish in the diving (Lilli Smith, 121.05 points, was the winner), then took the 100 butterfly with Alex Waasdorp finishing first (1:11.08), and the 100 free with Teresa Viscosi touching first (1:05.37).
In the 500 free, Pal-Mac's Dana Wilsey had a lead of half a lap by the 13th pass, and went on to post a winning time of 5:58.98. When she touched the wall and realized what her time was, her jaw dropped.
"Dana took more than seven seconds off her best time," said Pal-Mac coach Becky DeSol. "She said she wanted to get under six minutes. She asked, 'What do I have to do?' She makes goals and commits to them."
The Pal-Mac dominance continued. The Raiders took the 200 free relay (1:57.86) Rachel Bush of Gananda finally broke the string of Raider wins by getting to the wall first in the 100 backstroke (1:15.55). Alex Cunningham followed with a win in the 100 breast (1:13.27), edging Pal-Mac's Jones by a fingernail (1:13.50). Pal-mac won the final event, the 400 free relay (4:20.66), with Jessica Lioudis swimming a 1:03.42 split and giving the Raiders a huge lead.
Coach Oaks said Ellie Jones sliced four seconds off her time in the 200 IM, and eighth-grader Alana Viscosi dropped two seconds in her third-place finish in the 100 butterfly. Gananda's Sixbey said Marta Szumski knocked 18 seconds off her 500 free time, and Zoe Paris lowered her best time in the 2300 free by 11 seconds. It was that kind of meet