The 2018-19 season has generally been a strong one for the Elizabethtown Area High School swimming team. The Bears saw the girls finish 8-3 and the boys 6-5 in the regular season, with both finishing second in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. However, those results largely did not carry over into the year-end league meet, in which both teams struggled to make an impact.
Elizabethtown competed in the L-L League Swimming Championships on Friday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, Feb. 9, at Wilson High School’s Roy G. Snyder Natatorium. The boys finished ninth in the overall team standings with 17 points, while the girls took 10th with 11 points.
Sophomore Ben Azzalina performed well, earning four medals in total. He finished third in the boys 50-yard freestyle (22.08) and fourth in the 100-yard backstroke, which were the top placements across both Bears teams. He also took part in the 200-yard medley relay (1:50.97 with senior Kyle Welch, sophomore Sam Azzalina and freshman Riley Runnels) and the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:35.30, with Sam Azzalina, Runnels and senior Stuart Readinger), both of which placed eighth.
Junior Lexi Fink and sophomore Gabby Walsh took home multiple medals for the Lady Bears, with the former winning three and the latter getting two. The pair finished eighth in the 200-yard medley relay (2:00.63) alongside junior Rachel Handshew and freshman Sierra Kapcsos.
Fink was seventh in both the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.99) and the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:50.10) with Rachel Handshew, Kapcsos and sophomore Emily Kriner, in addition to a 12th-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley.
Walsh placed sixth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:02.03), as well as ninth in the 400-yard freestyle relay (with junior Camille Donahue, sophomore Mackenzie Batche and freshman Gabi Dabbs) and 13th in the 100-yard butterfly.
Elizabethtown’s remaining medal came from the boys 400-yard freestyle relay team of Stuart Readinger, sophomore Andrew Donahue, sophomore Chase Shelly and freshman Wyatt Rachael), which took eighth (3:47.08). The Bears also got a top-10 finish in the boys 50-yard freestyle from Sam Azzalina, who tied for 10th.
The rest of the team’s participants included Kapcsos (15th in the girls 100-yard breaststroke, 16th in the 100-yard freestyle), freshman Lilly Rutkowski (17th in the girls 100-yard backstroke), Runnels (18th in the boys 100-yard backstroke, 20th in the 100-yard freestyle), Sam Azzalina (18th in the boys 100-yard breaststroke), sophomore Megan Handshew (19th in the girls 100-yard backstroke), Stuart Readinger (20th in the boys 200-yard freestyle, 23rd in the 500-yard freestyle), sophomore Reece Readinger (20th in the boys 500-yard freestyle), Camille Donahue (21st in the girls 200-yard individual medley, 23rd in the 500-yard freestyle), Andrew Donahue (21st in the boys 100-yard freestyle, 23rd in the 200-yard individual medley), Dabbs (21st in the girls 200-yard freestyle), sophomore Ethan Hall (21st in the boy 200-yard freestyle), Rachael (22nd in the boys 100-yard breaststroke), freshman Owen Gensemer (22nd in the boys 500-yard freestyle), Welch (23rd in the boy 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly), sophomore Brooke Heisey (23rd in the girls 200-yard freestyle, 24th in the 500-yard freestyle), Kriner (23rd in the girls 50-yard freestyle) and Rachel Handshew (24th in the girls 100-yard freestyle).
Ben Azzalina is currently the only Elizabethtown swimmer to be guaranteed a spot in the District 3 Swimming Championship on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, at Cumberland Valley High School thanks to his qualifying time in the boys 50-yard freestyle. The rest will be announced by Sunday, Feb. 17. Junior Kierstan Lentz will be taking part in the District 3 Diving Championship on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Wilson.