Rocky swimmers finish unbeaten dual-meet season

Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2013, 10:53 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Chris Steele,
Since their Western Big 6 Conference championship in 1991, Rock Island'sswim program has been looking up at the rest of the conference.

Not anymore.

Rock Island put the finishing touches on an undefeated dual-meet season with a 107.5-78.5 win against United Township at the Panther Pool Thursday night.

"It's been a very long time since Rock Island has gone undefeated in a season," Rocky coach Grant Bramer said. "We had a team meeting where we talked about our end of the season goals. One of our goals was to go undefeated. I think this will help build momentum as we go into the conference meet and sectionals."

Rocky won 10 of the 12 events against United Township, making the Rocks look primed for a run at the Western Big 6 Conference title Feb. 8 in Galesburg.

Josh Fleming was in total control for Rock Island with wins in the 200 yard freestyle (1:49.98) and the 500 free (5:04.65).

"I never really thought about this at the end of last season," said Fleming of the unblemished season. "This year, so many guys have been stepping up, and are pushing each other. It has always been one big team experience, and we want what's best for each other."

Rocky's George Pappas continued to glide through the water, claiming another pair of victories in the 200 individual medley (2:07.55), and 100 butterfly (55.72).

Rocky's top line talent has pushed the team further than ever before, Daniel Rodriguez earned a win in the 50 free (23.26), and Kurgan Macias swam to wins in 100 freestyle (52.79) and 100 breaststroke (1:07.85).

Freshman John Ponsetto, who won the 100 backstroke (58.60), attributed his team's re-emergence to its depth.

Rocky's freshman class has raised the level of competition and helped supply that depth.

"It started for me last year just watching the team," said Ponsetto, who was a part of two relay wins. "I told myself I wanted to be a part of this team. I'm glad that I can be a part of this. From here on out, every point counts in every race."

After graduating two pillars of the Panther swim program, Matt Dassow and Felipe Hernandez, United Township showed that it was not going to be taken lightly at conference.

The Panthers proved just how far they have come this season, finishing closer in the team score to Rocky than any other conference team in a dual.

"Fast times and everyone has to swim their best," Austen Willhite said. "We have a lot of juniors, and hopefully we can all step up and be a lot like Dassow."

On senior night, Panthers' junior Jordan Witherspoon (177.00) just held off senior teammate Mark Cervantes (173.20) in diving.Last season, Cervantes showed natural ability after working with Panther product Josh Stice and diving coach Alan Dassow.

"They have taught me well," Cervantes said. "They wanted more out of me this season, and I'm giving them all I can."


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Aug. 23, the 235th day of 2014. There are 130 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Telegraph reports state that, about 6 o'clock on the evening of the 20th, Quantrill, with about 800 of his thieves and robbers, surrounded Lawrence, Kan., and burned it to the ground.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Newton Beer's production of "Lost in London," which had a successful run for three seasons, was presented at Harper's Theater.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German army commanded by Fran Duke Albrecht of Wurtemburg defeated the French army at Neufchmtenu.
1939 -- 75 years ago: John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline is starting a four-story, $104,000 addition to the combine assembly building.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Short Hills Country Club held onto its lead yesterday despite a rally by host Davenport Country Club and claimed the team title in the Sunshine Cup golf series.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Quad-Citians can look forward to more excitement and fun at this year's Rock Island Labor Day parade at 9:30 a.m. Sept 4, say organizers. This years theme is "Celebrate Rock Island."

(More History)