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Future looking bright for Copley girls swimming team

2/7/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COPLEY — Copley High School girls swim team head coach Ed Burnsed said this season already has proven to be a successful one for his team. Next up, he said, is seeing just how much better things can get.

“So far this season, the girls have gone undefeated (6-0) in the Suburban League, and ended up tied for the [Suburban League] championship with Green after losing the championship 298-289, a tiny margin,” he said. “Our first goal was to win the Suburban League championship — we haven’t won the girls’ title in three years. We did that. Now, we begin to focus on advancing swimmers through sectional, district and state competition.”

Last year, the girls team finished 6-5 in dual meets and ended up third in the Suburban League.

“We had one swimmer, Madison Myers, qualify to the state championships,” the coach said. “She finished 12th in the 50 free, and seventh in the 100 backstroke. She achieved All-American status in the backstroke — the top 100 times in the country make it.”

Burnsed said Myers is having another top-notch season as a sophomore.

“Obviously, Madison Myers is a tremendous swimmer — one of the most talented athletes I have had the pleasure with which to work,” he said. “Maddie has swum every event this season, and ranks among the top times in the state in all of them.”

In addition to Myers, Burnsed stated, Copley’s sophomore class features “two other outstanding swimmers” in Brenda Prifti and Emma Round.

“I don’t think either has missed a practice this year — and we practice 10 times a week,” he said. “Brenda qualified to the district meet last year and just missed school records in the 200 free and the 100 fly. She has already matched her times from last season. Emma has moved into a freestyle roll and is currently swimming the 200 and 500 and has made much progress.”

Burnsed noted other young swimmers also have stepped up and performed well this year.

“Mayu Canode is another sophomore who is swimming under her last year’s best in the 100 butterfly,” he said. “And Sydney Bailey (individual medley, 500), Gabi Rodriguez (individual medley, breaststroke), Katie Comstock (sprint freestyle), Hannah Blice (individual medley, breaststroke) and Laura Klions (200, 500 freestyle) have all made impressive impacts on the season.”

The strength of the team’s underclassmen is a major plus for the program’s future, the coach said.

“This year’s team is primarily led by our sophomore class, and we only lose four seniors this year,” he said. “So I would call us young, but balanced.”

According to Burnsed, the seniors this season are: Abby Caye (co-captain), who swims sprint freestyle and butterfly; Taylor Farber (co-captain), who swims freestyle; Mary Jo Talley (co-captain) who swims freestyle and backstroke; and Mackenzie Cox, who swims freestyle.

“Our seniors have done a fine job of mentoring their younger teammates in the ways of our program,” Burnsed stated. “They have shown dedication and tough-mindedness throughout the season.”

The coach said he is proud of the effort put forth by this year’s girls swimming team.

“All season we have worked on the swimmers’ versatility — a valuable commodity in high school swimming. We also have worked hard on the fundamentals: starts, turns and underwater swimming,” he said. “The strengths of this year’s team stems from their desire to work hard to improve. We ask a lot of the swimmers, and they have responded well. Their camaraderie is outstanding. Meet-wise, we have a disparate group of swimmers who can all swim multiple events. As a team, we don’t have many weaknesses. I am very proud of this team for the way they comport themselves and how they have handled adversity. It is a special group of young ladies.”

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