PHILADELPHIA – The 115th Annual Eastern Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships – one of the most prestigious prep school swim meets – was held this past weekend (hosted by Germantown Academy) at La Salle University in Northern Philadelphia.
Past Easterns champions have included olympians, national teamers, and other well-known swimmers – like the Crippens, Arthur Frayler, and others.
Many high schoolers have their first opportunities here to swim in a trials-finals meet.
“Your entire team cheering for you pumps you up and makes the race that much more fun”
Ben Shapiro – a senior from Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania – finished his high school swim career with a school-record breaking swim in the 200 IM finals. “Swimming in finals is exhilarating,” Shapiro said, “having your name announced and your entire team cheering for you pumps you up and makes the race that much more fun.”
Although he is currently a freshman, Reece Whitley – of the William Penn Charter School in Philly’s East Falls neighborhood – has swum for the Penn Charter High School team for multiple years. This year, however, in the penultimate event of the meet, Whitley broke the Easterns 100 breaststroke record – one that was set back in February of 1990 – by nearly a second. Whitley out-touched Georgetown Prep senior Carsten Vissering (who was also under the record) to win the 1-breast in a :53.66.
Last year, Vissering beat Whiteley (then an 8th-grader) in the same event by nearly a second. Prior to his victory in the 100 breast, Whitley won the 200 IM – not quite a record breaking time – but with an All-American cut of 1:49.43. Additionally, as the only freshman on the 200 medley relay, Whitley split a :24.91 on the breast leg – giving PC a second place finish in the A final.
Germantown Academy freshman Andrew Abruzzo took home the Fran Crippen award – given to the winners of the men’s and women’s 500 freestyle. Although Abruzzo was nearly ten seconds off of Arthur Frayler’s (currently University of Florida) record, the freshman has three more years – and three more shots – to get it.
Shannon McKernan – a Germantown Academy senior – beat Baldwin’s Val Yoshimura (the Easterns 100 fly record holder) in the 100 free, swimming a :50.48. McKernan also won the 200 free – coasting to an unrivaled, over 4-second finish, with a quick 1:47.27. Yoshimura did not swim the 100 fly this year and finished second in the 50 free – to Peddie’s Nika Blank – who swam a :23.75.
GA’s Madison Visco beat Episcopal Academy’s Sarah Baturka – the younger sister of Emily and Ben Baturka – in the 200 IM. Visco swam her last Easterns-200 IM in a 2:03.06, while Baturka, a junior, finished at a 2:08.42. Baturka also finished second in the 100 breast – to Peddie’s Laura Morley.
Sofia Acchione – a freshman from Friends’ Central School – was the youngest swimming in the women’s 100 fly finals, yet won the C final with a quick 1:01.82.
For the women, Germantown Academy reigned the champions – beating rival Peddie School by 36 points. On the men’s side, however, Peddie School prevailed – with 455 points over second place finishers Haverford School. In the 400 free relay, Peddie’s anchor, Julian Asuaje Solon was the only one under :45.00 in the entire meet – swimming a quick :44.95.
The GA-Peddie rivalry is revamped nearly every year – with many events between the two schools coming down to fractions of a second.