Little Flower swimming celebrates banner year

An un­for­get­table sea­son: After watch­ing the Arch­bish­op Ry­an girls swim team es­tab­lish it­self as a league power, Little Flower crashed the Cath­ol­ic League party in 2013-14, cap­tur­ing the cham­pi­on­ship as well as a Dis­trict XII title. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF SEAN CLOTHI­ER / LITTLE FLOWER ATH­LET­ICS

It was a sea­son for the re­cord books for Little Flower swim­ming.

While most of the area has been hop­ing and pray­ing for the fri­gid tem­per­at­ures to mer­ci­fully sub­side, winter treated Little Flower just fine.

After fin­ish­ing fourth in the Cath­ol­ic League and second in Dis­trict XII a year ago, “We knew we had a shot at both cham­pi­on­ships this year,” said head swim­ming coach Sean Clothi­er.

The team prac­ticed five nights a week in just three lanes in the pool at Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln. First, the team beat Arch­bish­op Wood for the first time ever be­fore meet­ing Arch­bish­op Ry­an, the de­fend­ing league and dis­trict champs. Ac­cord­ing to Clothi­er, the meet was back and forth, but Little Flower pulled away in the end for the pro­gram’s first-ever win over Ry­an.

“From there, the girls went on a tear,” Clothi­er said. “They knew that they were cap­able of be­ing cham­pi­ons.”

Later on, they de­feated Ry­an again, this time for the Cath­ol­ic League cham­pi­on­ship in an­oth­er tightly-con­tested match, and once more de­feated Ry­an to win the dis­trict by a score of 456-455.

Swim­mer Sarah Cole­man re­ceived All-Cath­ol­ic hon­ors in three dif­fer­ent events and also broke the team re­cord in the 50 free. The team also sent eight swim­mers to states, where all eight dropped their time or im­proved their stand­ing.

Oth­er high­lights in­cluded Kel­ley McHugh qual­i­fy­ing for states as a fresh­man, as well as Rose Pisacano and Megan Camp­bell gain­ing All-Cath­ol­ic hon­ors in the 100 back­stroke.

Little Flower went a per­fect 10-0 in the reg­u­lar sea­son, won the Strouds­burg Winter Clas­sic, the Cath­ol­ic League title, and the Dis­trict XII cham­pi­on­ship. At states, McHugh set a fresh­man re­cord in the 100 back­stroke, and the 400 free­style re­lay team swam one of the fast­est times in school his­tory. Ju­ni­or Ally McHugh fin­ished sev­enth in the 200 in­di­vidu­al med­ley and 12th in the 500 free­style, qual­i­fy­ing for the PI­AA All-State Team in both events. 

“Con­sist­ently, they re-raised the bar for them­selves,” Clothi­er said. ••

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