Parkland Press

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PRESS FILE PHOTO District champion Erin Jordan and the Parkland girls swim team will be a favorite to win league and district title this year. PRESS FILE PHOTO District champion Erin Jordan and the Parkland girls swim team will be a favorite to win league and district title this year.

Trojan girls swimmers still strong

Thursday, December 5, 2013 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in HS Sports

The Parkland girls swimming program comes into the season looking to defend yet another District 11 championship. The team has garnered five straight titles and nine of the last 10.

The boys team has been close, but just as the girls keep grabbing district titles away from rival Emmaus, the Hornets have held an edge over the Parkland boys.

Again this season, the Parkland boys, who were 13-1 last season, come into the season looking to turn the tide, but know that nothing is going to be easy in the Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11, both of which are becoming stronger in swimming.

"The boys team looks to remain competitive within the LVC and at districts, however, the size of the team will limit them on the team scores," said coach Rob Robitaille. "The dual meet season will not accurately reflect the talent that is contained on the team.

"The boys team continues to develop through a very good work ethic led by our upper classmen and will channel those efforts toward a competitive district and state meet, and there are several up and coming freshmen who are looking to leave their mark with the other men on the team, so it will be exciting to watch them develop with our more experienced returners."

The size of the team and competitive nature of the LVC mean that the real opportunity for the boys team could come in districts this season.

"This year's team doesn't have the size to win an LVC title, but they are a very tough working group, and have each other's back," said Robitaille. "I look forward to watching them develop over the season, finding the right fit for our pieces, and seeing where that takes us at districts.

"We will be more competitive there than in the LVC. Will we have enough to keep up with the likes of Emmaus and Freedom? We'll just have to wait and see."

For the girls, they'll come in knowing that other teams are looking to be the ones to knock them off, especially after the Lady Trojans went 14-0 last season. The girls figure to be just as strong, but could face growing competition from other programs that are starting to close the gap a little.

"This year's team has the same potential as last year, however, will have to work harder than ever to reach that goal. With rising talent on Emmaus, Freedom and Liberty, we have to remain focused on working to their potential," said Robitaille. "The girls team is focused at practice, working hard, and they know what they need to do in order to reach the same success as last year. I believe they'll be ready to put their best foot forward at the end of the season."

Robitaille is happy to see that the area swimming programs are getting stronger, but admits that it presents different challenges for the program and for each individual swimmer on both sides of the team.

"We have a lot of work to do in order to defend ourselves in the LVC," he said. "The talent in the valley is widespread and is developing well. We'll continue to develop our athletes as fast as possible into premier athletes in the LVC, however, the next few years will be interesting.

"It's great for the LVC that the parity in the conference is this great as it breeds a strong conference that goes to the state competition in March. If District 11 does well at states, it bodes well for all of us."

Parkland opens the season Friday night at home against Souderton before jumping into conference meets when Liberty comes into Parkland next Thursday. The annual rivalry meet with Emmaus, which moved to December last season after having been the closing meet of the season for many years, will be at Emmaus this season on December 21. Even though it's earlier in the season, that meet will still go a long way to determining the LVC Championship.