On Thursday, the Ramblers took to the pool at the David M. Hallman Aquatics Center for a battle with arch rival, McDowell. Coming off of Christmas training and both teams having good wins under their belts, both schools were geared up and ready to race.
Jake Schmidt, team captain for the Ramblers, commented, ” It’s always nice when we get to swim [against] McDowell. We know that they are going to push us and we are going to push them because we both want to win.”
That was the case on Thursday night as both teams churned up the water, in front of a packed house, fighting for the top spot. The meet started out on a strong positive note for the Ramblers as the team of Ethan Neff, Calvin Behm, Robbie Maholic, and Thomas Uht took the 200-yard medley relay in decisive fashion. Ethan Neff said of the win, “It’s always good we win that first event. It sets the tone and everyone gets fired up.”
In the 200-yard freestyle Bobby Bolmanski won the event for the Trojans, but the Ramblers took second, third, and fifth, picking up vital points. In the 200-yard individual medley a 1-2-4 finish increased the lead. Ethan Neff, John Paul Stark, and CJ Girts helped extend the lead. Heading into the 50 freestyle the sports “Splash and Dash” Thomas Uht and Jake Schmidt nabbed the 2-3 spots behind McDowell by only a few tenths of a second.
Heading into diving Prep had a healthy lead and things were looking up. Junior Mitch Cizmek said, “The team was fired up. We’ve never lost in this pool, and the first half of this meet showed why.” In the diving portion of the meet though it was all McDowell as they picked up the 1-2-4 spots with Kollin Schwab picking up the win with 288.05 points. Prep divers Ryan Garich took 3rd with 214.44 points and Zachary Galla 5th with 129.80 points. Prep’s lead had shrunk, but there was a lot of swimming still to come.
After the break in the action Prep started off win a bang in the 100 yard butterfly. Robbie Maholic took the win with a 55.56 and Ramblers Matthew Wegley and Gavin Ferry nabbed the 3rd and 4th spots. In the 100 freestyle Tony Squelia picked up a dominant win by almost a second as he took the event with his Prep teammates Calvin Behm and Jake Schmidt getting 3rd and 4th. In the 500 free Prep lost some ground as McDowell took the 1 and 3 spots with Preps Alec Thomas coming in second. CJ Girts and Mitch Cizmek got 4th and 5th in the PIAAs longest event.
The next big event to come up was the 200-yard freestyle relay, an event that both McDowell and Prep have turned into one. “Relays are so important because they are worth double points. They are crucial if you want to take the title,” commented assistant coach Cody Capwill. The Ramblers came up big and won the relay, now almost clinching the meet and extending the lead.
Traditionally over the past couple seasons, Prep has made the 100-yard backstroke their bread and butter event. An easy 1-2-3 finish by Ethan Neff, Robbie Maholic, and Jacob Clark solidified the meet for the Ramblers. They didn’t let up there though with a strong showing in the 100 breastroke, taking 2-4-5 with Calvin Behm, Sean Zhao, and John Paul Stark. In the last event of the night the Rambler swim team finished the meet in style with the team of Thomas Uht, Jake Schmidt, Alec Thomas, and Tony Squelia taking the 400-yard freestyle relay in a near pool record fashion.
The Cathedral Prep swim team beat the McDowell Trojans 112-74. ” This is a good win for us, we have a lot of big meets coming up but this is a very good indication of where we are with districts and states coming up,” said head coach Mike Doyle. The Ramblers are back in action at home this week versus the Mercyhurst Prep Lakers Thursday at 6 p.m. and Canisius High School on Saturday at noon.