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NTL SWIMMING & DIVING: TOWANDA HAS HIGH HOPES TO IMPROVE OFF OF LAST YEAR (2021-12-07)

BY CHRIS MANNING
Northern Tier Sports Report
When a lot of people think about winter sports, they usually think about courts and mats, but the pools will be filled, too. Towanda will be looking to have a strong season as they have a mix of veterans and newcomers on the team.

“My juniors are going to continue to do well, they’ll continue to excel,” said coach Evan Basse. “But some of our freshmen, I think I’m going to see them step up. Because, now that we have fewer numbers, we’re going to have to ask them to step up into some bigger roles. Roles they’re not necessarily used to.”


While they spend much of their season at dual meets, the main goal for Basse is getting his kids to hit district time.


“I want to get as many of them to go to districts and to get medals at districts, as I can,” he said. “I certainly have enough swimmers that I will be able to do that this year.”


On the boys’ side they return Luke Tavani and Eric Magee, with Julianna Varner is a key returnee on the girls’ team.


“We don’t have a lot of people, but I’m excited for what we can do individual,” Tavani said. 


A distance swimmer, his goal is to hit district time in the 200 and the 500.


“I’m better at endurance more than sprinting,” Tavani remarked. His goal is get under 6:15 for the 500, and 2:30 in the 200.


“I have to focus on my form more, and my breathing,” he said about how plans on improving.


Magee will be working on the 100 backstroke, and the 50 free, which is his favorite event.


“I like how there’s a lot of different things you have to do for sprinting,” said Magee. “You generally have to breathe less, and just be faster, and just stay underwater longer.”


Going from that to the 100 backstroke is quite the change.


“It’s very weird because the backstroke, it seems you can breathe easier, but it seems a little bit harder,” he said. “It wears you down a lot more.”


There’s a lot more precision in the backstroke.


“You have to keep everything in sync,” Magee explained. “Especially your arms being straight, making sure you have a good pull with your arms.”


He’s hoping to get a personal best.


“I just have to make sure I stay underwater longer, and get my foot turns faster,” he remarked.


Varner plans on focusing on the 100 breaststroke and the 50 free, two very different strokes. She wants to hit 26 seconds for the 50 free.


“It’s a rush,” Varner said about the 50 free. “It’s very fast, and when you get out of the pool, it’s like ‘I just did that.’”


For the breaststroke, though, there’s more precision involved.


“Better kicking, lots of kicking,” Varner said about the specialty stroke. 


She plans on doing a lot of drills to get things down as she does her best to perfect her stroke.


One freshman to watch will be Marisa Wise, who will be focusing on the butterfly and the breaststroke, or ‘more of the difficult ones,’ as she described.


"I really like difficult and challenging things,” remarked Wise.


Both of them couldn’t be more different in the water, as it will take different muscles.


“I’m really going to focus on the upper body muscle,” Wise said about the butterfly. “I think it’s mostly kind of just focusing on your forearm and placement of the kick, and the breathing, and the balance.”


As for the breaststroke, there isn’t as much upper body power.


“You just kind of go with the flow of the water on that one,” described Wise.


Coming off junior high she’ll have to get used to the longer distances for the events, but she had a good cross-country season in the fall, so she’s confident she’ll do well in the pool.


“Running and swimming kind of go hand-in-hand,” said Wise. “It’s like running in the water, basically.”


They’re all ready to practice hard, but winter is a long sports season, so Basse likes to break things up, too.


“Certainly, we’re about work, but then we also try to build in fun things for them to do,” he said. “Just relays in the pool, or we’ll play water polo. I just try to keep the practices a little bit different, try to introduce some things that are more fun than just the everyday slog of swimming, and watching the tiles go by.”


ROSTER

Girls

Marisa Wise

Noelle Rogers

Rylee Martin

Zoie Lamphere

Juliana Varner

Boys

Alex Lantz

Sean Lauber

Nate Spencer

Luke Tavani

Eric Magee


SCHEDULE

Dec. 13 at Athens, 4:30 p.m.

Dec. 15 at Montoursville, 4:30 p.m

Dec. 16 at Waverly, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 5 at Danville, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 6 vs Danville, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 12 at Shamokin, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 14 at Waverly Invitational

Jan. 20 vs Athens, Lewisburg, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 vs Athens, Wellsboro, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 16 at Elk Lake, 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 2 vs Jersey Shore, 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 at SAT Championships, 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 10 vs Tunkhannock, 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 11 at Williamsport, 10 a.m.

Feb. 15 vs Bloomsburg, 4:30 p.m.



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