Quaker Valley swimmers, divers produce medal-winning performances

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Sunday, March 27, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley swimmer Emily Connors ended her superb sophomore season as a triple medalist at the PIAA Class 2A girls championships held at Bucknell.

Connors placed sixth in the 100-yard freestyle in 52.22 seconds and eighth in the 100-yard butterfly in 57.16. She finished third in both events at the WPIAL finals and holds school records in both (51.69 and 56.76).

Connors also swam the first leg on the QV girls 200 freestyle relay unit that placed sixth at states in 1 minute, 40.73 seconds. Connors, freshmen Paige Juliano and Kwilai Karto and junior Ella Fuener teamed up in the event.

“It was my goal to podium in my individual events, and I was able to do that,” Connors said. “I didn’t swim the times I wanted or place how I wanted, but I am still pleased with the fact that I was able to place on the podium at the states level.

“And one of our team goals was to get at least one of our relays on the podium, and we successfully did that.”

Connors, sophomore Rena Gilligan (200 IM, 100 breast) and freshman Margaret Getty (200 free, 500 free) qualified for the PIAA meet in two events and were joined by Juliano in the 500 freestyle.

The Quakers’ 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays placed 10th and 15th, respectively, at Bucknell. Connors, Fuener, Getty and Juliano swam in the 400 freestyle relay. Getty, Gilligan, Fuener and Juliano competed in the 200 medley relay.

Connors also qualified for the PIAA finals as a freshman, individually in the 100 butterfly and as part of the 200 medley and 400 free relays. Both relay units took third place.

QV freshman Ruby Olliffe and sophomore Kate Blackmer qualified for states this year in the girls diving competition.

Olliffe, the WPIAL Class 2A runner-up, secured sixth place with a 354.40 score. She scored well on her final three dives in earning her state medal.

“My first round was a little rough,” Olliffe said in a Trib HSSN interview. “But after the first five dives, I was able to bring it up a little bit. I was happy with how I picked myself up. I was really nervous in the beginning because there were a lot of people, and everyone was really good. I was able to relax towards the end.

“At the start of the season, my goal was just to make WPIALs, so I was insanely happy to be at states and also win a medal. This is so much greater than I thought it was going to be.”

QV sophomore Kate Blackmer was a semifinalist in diving, and freshman Ruby Krotine participated in the preliminaries.

The Quaker Valley girls, who finished second and third in the WPIAL the past two seasons, ended up 10th in the PIAA team scoring with 81 points, one behind ninth-place Northgate.

Schuylkill Valley was the state’s top 2A girls team with 177 points, followed by Mt. Pleasant (169), Villa Maria Academy (133.5), East Pennsboro (122) and Boiling Springs Swimming & Diving (120).

Connors is looking forward to even better results for the QV girls team in 2022-23.

“I would say my early expectations for next season are to, hopefully, gain a few more WPIAL swimmers and have all of our relays make the final and medal at states,” Connors said. “I also hope that we can place in the top two as a team at WPIALs.”

For the QV boys, junior Alex Wagner and freshman Ryan Steinfurth were PIAA qualifiers in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, respectively.

Wagner, Steinfurth, freshman Thomas Fuener, sophomore Wesley Riddle and junior Spencer Wiehe contributed on relays.

“The future is bright with nearly everyone coming back next year,” QV coach John Nemeth said, “which is a huge plus as we continue to build the program.”

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