Little Flower swimming celebrates banner year

An unforgettable season: After watching the Archbishop Ryan girls swim team establish itself as a league power, Little Flower crashed the Catholic League party in 2013–14, capturing the championship as well as a District XII title. PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN CLOTHIER / LITTLE FLOWER ATHLETICS

It was a season for the record books for Little Flower swimming.

While most of the area has been hoping and praying for the frigid temperatures to mercifully subside, winter treated Little Flower just fine.

After finishing fourth in the Catholic League and second in District XII a year ago, “We knew we had a shot at both championships this year,” said head swimming coach Sean Clothier.

The team practiced five nights a week in just three lanes in the pool at Abraham Lincoln. First, the team beat Archbishop Wood for the first time ever before meeting Archbishop Ryan, the defending league and district champs. According to Clothier, the meet was back and forth, but Little Flower pulled away in the end for the program’s first-ever win over Ryan.

“From there, the girls went on a tear,” Clothier said. “They knew that they were capable of being champions.”

Later on, they defeated Ryan again, this time for the Catholic League championship in another tightly-contested match, and once more defeated Ryan to win the district by a score of 456–455.

Swimmer Sarah Coleman received All-Catholic honors in three different events and also broke the team record in the 50 free. The team also sent eight swimmers to states, where all eight dropped their time or improved their standing.

Other highlights included Kelley McHugh qualifying for states as a freshman, as well as Rose Pisacano and Megan Campbell gaining All-Catholic honors in the 100 backstroke.

Little Flower went a perfect 10–0 in the regular season, won the Stroudsburg Winter Classic, the Catholic League title, and the District XII championship. At states, McHugh set a freshman record in the 100 backstroke, and the 400 freestyle relay team swam one of the fastest times in school history. Junior Ally McHugh finished seventh in the 200 individual medley and 12th in the 500 freestyle, qualifying for the PIAA All-State Team in both events.

“Consistently, they re-raised the bar for themselves,” Clothier said. ••