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Copley girls swim team sets ‘lofty goals’ this season

12/5/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COPLEY — According to head coach Ed Burnsed, the strength of this year’s Copley High School girls swim team lies in its balance.

“We have multiple swimmers who can compete well in different events, and various swimmers who specialize in events all across the board,” he said. “There are few races where we are not represented well. Overall, the team is deep and this should be a fun, competitive season.”

The team is led by junior Madison Myer, who was a three-time All-American (top 100 in the country) during the past two seasons.

“That had never been achieved at Copley,” Burnsed said. “She qualified as an All-American in backstroke the last two seasons, and in 2012-13, she added the 200 freestyle to her All-American credentials. Madison scored all our points at state last year, and she is swimming faster than ever. She currently holds school records in every event except butterfly and breaststroke, which means she holds six individual school records and shares one in the 200-freestyle relay.”

Another of the team’s top swimmers, Burnsed noted, is junior Brenda Prifti (freestyle, butterfly).

“Brenda holds the school record in the 100 butterfly and 200-freestyle relay and is ranked in the top three all-time at Copley in multiple events,” he said.

Copley’s seniors this year are: Gabi Rodriguez (individual medley, breaststroke, sprint free), a returning state qualifier and school record-holder in the 200-free relay; and Meredith Wardell (butterfly, free), who Burnsed called “much improved” from last year.

Other key returning contributors this season, the coach said, include: Emma Round (freestyle, individual medley), co-holder of the 200-freestyle relay record; Mayu Canode (butterfly, free); Hannah Blice (breaststroke, individual medley); Laura Klions (freestyle); Kelsey Braman (individual medley, breaststroke); Katie Comstock (freestyle); and Sydney Bailey (individual medley, backstroke, freestyle).

“Newcomers who can make an impact include freshmen Christina Lee (free, backstroke), Alyssa Hertz (individual medley, breast) and Sarah McCord (butterfly),” Burnsed stated.

The 2012-13 girls swim team finished with a 6-3 overall record, including a perfect 6-0 mark in the Suburban League. The team finished third at sectionals, ninth at the district meet and 21st in the Division I State Swim Tournament. The Lady Indians were co-champs of the Suburban League with Green High School in 2012-13.

“The girls team lost four seniors to graduation, and they were important to our depth, but a number of other swimmers are developing well and should step up and fill the gaps,” Burnsed stated. “The strength of our team lies in our junior class, so we are a veteran team with many young, upcoming swimmers. This is a team with few weaknesses and should compete for the Suburban League title.”

One area where the team will look to improve this season, the coach said, is in the sprint events.

“While we have a number of swimmers who are exceptional, we can definitely benefit from more depth in the sprint freestyle events,” he stated.

Otherwise, Burnsed said he likes what he has seen from his team so far.

“These girls have a tremendous work ethic,” he stated. “Our goals for this season include repeating as Suburban League champs — ideally not as co-champs this time — and taking first or second at the sectional meet, moving into the top five at the district meet and trying to get into the top 10 at the Ohio state championships. These are lofty goals, but they are attainable.”

Burnsed’s assistant coaches are Jen Soltis, who is in her 14th year, and Lisa Sharnsky, who is currently in her fourth season.

“They are invaluable to our success here at Copley, and much appreciated,” the head coach said. “I have been proud of the way the team has progressed, and we look forward to continued improvement both in the pool and in the classroom.”

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