WAYNESBORO – History was made at the Waynesboro Area YMCA on Tuesday.
The Waynesboro Area Senior High School boys’ and girls’ swim teams hosted James Buchanan in a PIAA-sanctioned scholastic meet, the first of its kind in the history of WASHS.
“The team was thrilled to have their very first home meet in their own facility, to be able to swim in the pool where you train and to be able to be a part of that, they were very excited,” said Waynesboro coach Sharon McIlquham. “And to walk away with a win, that was good.”
The Waynesboro boys defeated Buchanan 106-52. The Waynesboro girls team topped JB 105-43 in front of a capacity crowd inside a sauna-like YMCA natatorium.
“I kept looking up there and the stands kept getting more and more crowded,” said McIlquham. “The kids kept saying, ‘My friends are coming’ and ‘the students are coming.’ For the team to have that support from the student body was very important to the team. The number of spectators we had up there was impressive. It was standing room only. We had others on the pool deck because there wasn’t room for them up there.”
With the meet being held in the friendly confines of home, and with friends and family cheering them on, any potential distractions from the charged atmosphere were washed away from the opening gun.
“They were ready to go,” McIlquham said.
WASHS athletic director Eric McIlquham was on hand during part of the meet and talked to the team.
“He stopped in to let them know that we will be keeping track of the records that are set,” said Sharon McIlquham. “So these swimmers were able to be part of history.”
Amie Phillips, the mother of Eve Phillips – a record-setting Waynesboro YMCA Waves swimmer whose name is etched all over the wall adjacent to the pool – is not only proud that the program is now sanctioned by the PIAA but also that the team is hosting meets.
“Now they can have relays,” said Phillips. “And they even have more swimmers on the team this year. Some kids have been swimming for years and some haven’t been in a meet until this year.”
While the competitive aspect of the meet was evident, it was as much about getting behind swimmers who aren’t quite up to speed and who are gaining experience.
As for Eve Phillips, who last season was runner up in the District 3 Championships in the 100 meter butterfly, it was business as usual. The sophomore won the 100 and 200-meter individual medley (an event that includes all four strokes – freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly). She also swam a leg in the winning 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays.
Teaming up with Phillips in the 200 medley relay were Emma Swanson, Belle Hess and Mya Beck as well as Brenna Naddeo, Hess and Beck in the 200 freestyle relay.
“God gave her the talent, and she works hard,” said Amie Phillips. “She started swimming for Waves when she was seven but she started taking lessons when she was four. She’s a team player, and that’s how she swims. It’s a team sport and an individual sport.”
Waynesboro’s other girls’ winners in individual events were Mya Beck (200 freestyle), Emma Swanson (50 freestyle and 1090 backstroke), Jae Kelley (100 butterfly) and Maddy Stoops (400 freestyle).5
On the boys side, Waynesboro’s Parker Hull, Owen Shockey, Cello Dimino and Bryan Benedict took turns swimming the 200 medley relay and won the event in 2:28.96.
Brenner McIlquham finished first in the 50 freestyle and 400 freestyle. Aiden Hess placed first in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly events. Gabe Blake also was a double winner, hitting the edge of the pool first in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
The foursome of McIlquham, Hess, Nathan Nolan and Blake won the 400 freestyle relay.
Waynesboro’s next dual meet is Tuesday, Dec. 20 at Northern York in Dillsburg, starting at 5 p.m.