Parkland Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Erika Freeman swims won the individual medley in Parkland's season-opening meet. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Erika Freeman swims won the individual medley in Parkland's season-opening meet.

Swim teams split with Souderton

Thursday, December 12, 2013 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in HS Sports

The Parkland swimming program opened the 2013-14 season with a split decision against the visiting Souderton Indians. The girls picked up an impressive 122-64 win, while the boys fell to the Indians 115-71.

"I thought it would be closer on the girls side, to be honest with you," said Trojan head coach Rob Robitaille. "On paper, it should have been within 10, so the girls really stepped up to the challenge and raced really well. On the boys side, it's about what I expected. We had some good races. We had some younger guys really do well, so I think we can move some guys up on the depth charts."

Junior Erika Freeman had a strong performance against Souderton, picking up an individual win in the 200-yard individual medley and combining with Erin Jordan, Shannon Bonner and Siena Salvaggio to grab a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Freeman's times were close to the times she was posting last season, which is a good sign this early in the season.

"I do feel good," she said. "Last year I started off kind of rocky and this year I feel a lot better and feel more in shape, so I think it's going to be a good season."

Robitaille liked what he saw from Freeman and was glad to see her get off to a good start.

"I thought Erika had a really good meet," he said. "Her times were pretty close to in-season times from last year. She was really close in her 200 IM; anytime you get kids within 10 seconds of their best this early in the season, it's a good day, so I was happy with her performance."

Freeman credited her strong start to some changes she made during the offseason and a newfound dedication to the sport.

"I started training with a new team and I've been more dedicated and more motivated because I want to do well," said Freeman, who likes how the girls team is shaping up. "I think we're really strong. We all have great attitudes and we've been training really hard, so I think we're going to have a great season this year."

Robitaille said coming into the season that there would be a lot of challenges for the boys team, but with younger swimmers stepping up early, it would appear that they're off to a decent start. One of the areas that will get some attention from the coaching staff early in the season is the make-up of the relay teams, which Robitaille says is a work in progress, especially this early in the season.

"We've got a lot of work to do on the relays," he said. "It's a long road to get from here to there and we'll be tweaking those as the season goes on trying to find the best fit that we have.

"When you have teams like Liberty coming in next week, you have to make adjustments to be sure that you can account for their pieces the best that we can and they'll make adjustments, so hopefully, it will work out."

Parkland hosts Liberty tonight and then travels to Easton for a meet on Tuesday.