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Parkland beats Dieruff, ACC

In the age of COVID-19, everything is a little different, including high school swimming and diving. Previously, swimming was a straightforward proposition. In 2021, a competition takes place virtually, sometimes over several days and sometimes against several schools participating in one meet.

That scenario was the case last week for the Parkland swimming and diving team, who earned wins over Dieruff and Central Catholic High Schools. The Trojan girls downed the Huskies 153-22 and Vikings 146-34, while the Trojan boys defeated the Huskies 143-33 and Vikes 136-43.

The foursome of Sophia Cerimele, Madison Tewksbury, Kayla Johnson and Claire Weaver found success in the 200-yard medley, winning the race in 1:53.38. The four girls were only getting started. They later won the 200-yard medley in 1:53.38.

Johnson’s outstanding day continued. She was also a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay team - with Olivia Stevenson, Simone Lin and Devon Corvaia - which won its race in 3:47.88. The time was nearly 21 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Johnson, a junior, also won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:21.63 and the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:16.88.

“Kayla is a great kid to coach,” said Parkland swimming and diving coach Robert Robitaille. “She’s attentive to the coaches, and very coachable in that she will put what we stress into her swims almost immediately. She also has the ability to push herself beyond her limits when she needs to.”

Boys swimmer Nicholas Zaffiro also had a fine day. The junior won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:04.81, finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.26) and took first place along with teammates Matthew Greer, John Fahrney and Karl Schmidt in the 200-yard freestyle relay. He also grabbed second place in the 400-yard freestyle relay with the Trojans’ Jacob Parry, Douglas Graham and Schmidt.

“Nick has really dedicated himself to building strength in the weight room,” Robitaille said. “It will be nice to see what that offer to his rested swims.”

Johnson and Zaffiro “are dedicated year-round athletes who find ways to develop and compete,” according to their coach.

Parkland divers also did well during the meet. Nicole Stofko claimed the victory on the girls side, with Ethan Radio winning the same competition for the boys.

The victories kept both the girls and boys records perfect, at 6-0. The Trojans have two scheduled virtual regular season meets remaining - Feb. 19 against Nazareth, Easton and Allen, and Feb. 23 against Emmaus. The District 11 Swimming Championships are scheduled for March 6 at Parkland High School, while the diving championship is slated for Feb. 27 at Emmaus. The PIAA Diving Championship is set for March 13 at Cumberland Valley High School, with the PIAA Swimming Championships planned for one week later, March 20.

PRESS PHOTOS BY COLIN SHERIDAN Parkland's Shawn Kushner (right) and Nicholas Zaffiro compete in the breaststroke during a recent Parkland meet.
PRESS PHOTO BY COLIN SHERIDAN Parkland's Nicole Stofko took first place in diving in the Trojans' meet against