Led by Schrecengost sisters, Freeport swimming aiming high

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022 | 10:54 AM


Nikki Heasley has a golden reason to be optimistic about her Freeport swimming team.

Heasley, in her 11th year as the team’s coach, returns one of the top female swimmers in the WPIAL, Lexi Schrecengost.

Last season, Schrecengost took first in the girls 100-yard breaststroke and finished fourth in the 100-yard freestyle at the WPIAL championships, qualifying for the PIAA meet in both races.

Schrecengost was part of a talented group of girls who placed in the top six in two relay events in 2021, as well.

“The girls are starting off fairly strong,” Heasley said of the current group. “We got a couple additional girls who are really good and will make our relays faster than they’ve been in recent years.”

One of those newcomers is Kira Schrecengost, a freshman who is the younger sister of Lexi, a senior committed to Toledo.

Kira already has automatically qualified for the WPIAL meet this season in three events and broken a school record.

“They’re both competitors, but they’re very competitive with each other,” Heasley said. “You’ve got little sister coming for big sister, and you’ve got big sister wanting to fend (off) her swims.

“They bring a good energy, and they love to swim. Swimming, it’s in them. And they have a younger sister who, when she comes through, is going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

In all, there are 11 swimmers on the girls team, including six freshmen and three pairs of sisters. Mary Anne and Sarah Altman and Danielle and Nicole Parke join the Schrecengost sisters in the family affair.

“The team is very good,” Heasley said. “They’re jelling really well and rooting for each other. My faster swimmers don’t look at my slower swimmers like, ‘Who are you?’ ”

The boys roster features eight athletes.

Junior Tyler Moretti, as well as freshmen Nate Tarbi and Angelo Porco, are the three top swimmers. Moretti’s sister, Madison, qualified for the WPIAL championships in two individual races and as a part of two relays last year. She swims collegiately at Cal (Pa.).

Unfortunately, as has been the case for many programs, the boys team has had to deal with some quarantines and interruptions because of covid-19.

“The boys have some potential,” Heasley said, adding that Moretti has made secondary cuts for the WPIAL meet later this winter. “We have a good group of boys. If they bear down a little bit, they may be able to make a cut to get in as a relay. We just haven’t had an opportunity to get them up and going.”

While Freeport will be going for the medal stand, Heasley’s primary goal is to develop young people into adults.

“I want them to learn life lessons,” Heasley said. “How to be good to each other, how to be there for each other, how to connect with each other. And how different people, with different views, can come together and be one.

“I want them to enjoy it. I don’t want it to be a chore. And I want them to learn to enjoy the differences that we all bring.”

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