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Electing to make a short hour-long drive from her hometown of Hellertown, Pennsylvania, Pepper Ritchey has verbally committed to Villanova University for the fall of 2021. She attends Moravian Academy as well as training with the Parkland Aquatic Club.
Last spring she was a two-event champion at the 2020 PIAA (Pennsylvania high school) District XI AA Championships. She took first in both the 100 fly (55.83) and 500 freestyle (5:01.79). Her time in the fly marked a full second drop from her previous best time, swum at the beginning of December.
She was also a multiple event finalist at last summer’s long course Senior Zone Championships held in Buffalo, New York. Her top finish came in the 800 free where she took 10th. During the meet, she swam to new best times in the 50 free, 400 free, 800 free, 100 fly, and 200 IM.
Top SCY Times
- 100 fly – 55.83
- 200 fly – 2:10.76
- 200 free – 1:53.83
- 500 free – 5:00.74
- 1650 free – 17.16.63
Last year Villanova took 1st out of 6 teams at the 2020 Big East Swimming and Diving Conference Championships. Sophomore Milly Routledge was recognized as the Most Outstanding Women’s Swimmer of the meet for her victories in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle events while head coach Rick Simpson and his assistants were voted the BIG EAST Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year. Throughout the meet, the Wildcats won 28 medals including 15 golds.
Ritchey’s biggest impact after arriving on campus next fall will most likely come in the 100 fly. Last year her best time would have taken 6th at the conference meet. While BIG EAST conference champion Micaela Grassi graduated, Ritchey will have one year of overlap with Kelly Montesi who, although she didn’t swim the event at the conference meet, was a three-event champion and held the team’s second-fastest 100 fly last season.
Last season it took a 1:51/4:59/17:28 to make the top-8 in the 200/500/1650 free events last season.
Ritchey will join Joshua Brown, Aubrey Bowles, Lainey Quinones, Francesca Raimondi, Henry Halloran, and Emily Zimmermann in the Villanova University men’s and women’s recruiting class of 2021.
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