Erlton makes history at the 2012 Cherry Bowl Championship

Erlton makes history at the 2012 Cherry Bowl Championship


On Saturday, July 28, 2012, the 53 annual Cherry Bowl was held at Fox Hollow Swim Club.  The history of the event does not lend itself to first time winners.  Upon entering the 53 Cherry Bowl, Kingston Estates Swim Club had been crowned champion 18 of the previous 52 times and was coming in as the four-time defending champion.  Old Orchard Swim Club won the Cherry Bowl every year starting in 1978 and ending in 1989, and entered with a total of 20 Cherry Bowl championships.  Do the math and that’s 38 of 52 titles spilt between the two clubs, and when you factor in that Covered Bridge Swim Club has won four times in the past decade, it’s easy to conclude that the championship isn’t friendly to swim teams looking for a breakthrough.

However, early on in the 53 Cherry Bowl, anyone basing his or her predictions on the history of the prior 52 Cherry Bowls would be in for quite a surprise.  Erlton began with a quick start, winning three of the first six events as Caroline Conte won the Girls 12 and Under 100 Meter Individual Medley and both Aaron Groff and Courtney Patterson followed with wins in the same category, Groff winning for the Boys 13-14 race and Patterson winning for the Girls 15-18 race.  Erlton’s success continued from the Individual Medley to the Medley Relay as the club won five of the ten Medley Relay races.  However, suspected winners Kingston Estates and Covered Bridge were still seizing the opportunity to stay in the competition.

While all three of these clubs continued to rack up the points in the Freestyle events, there were a couple of individual performances in this phase, from swimmers outside of the contending clubs, that caught the eye of the crowd.  In the Girls 50 Meter Freestyle ages nine-ten, Ayana Opong, from Barclay Farm, set a Cherry Bowl Record, swimming the two laps up and down the Fox Hollow pool in less than half of a minute—29.05 seconds to be exact.  Later in the Girls ages 15-18 100 Meter Freestyle, Anne Marie McCotter from Wexford Leas set a Cherry Bowl record with a time of 58.59 seconds.  She had held the previous Cherry Bowl record for the event which she set on July 31, 2010, with a time of 59.11 seconds.

Next was the backstroke.  At this point, the meet was approaching its halfway point and it was becoming more and more evident that Kingston Estates, Covered Bridge and Erlton would be battling for the 53 Cherry Bowl Championship.  However, Cherry Hill East’s own Jamie Lynn Brookover (’13), another swimmer who does not swim for any of the aforementioned clubs, posted a good time of 31.54 seconds in the 50 Meter Backstroke for Girls 15-18.

This left the breaststroke, butterfly and free relay for the contenders to make a push for separation and to claim the title of 2012 Cherry Bowl Champions.  One of the events highly concentrated with both East graduates and current East students was the Boys 50 Meter Butterfly for ages 15-18.  This event featured Alek Combs (’13), Jake Maggioncalda (’12), Jeff Bowen (’11), Dan Hagedorny (’12) and Alex Dintino (’12) among others. In the end, it was Dintino, representing Barclay Farm, who ended up winning the race with a time of 26.75 seconds.

The Free Relay was all that was left and, fittingly enough, it was Erlton who won the final event of the day, the 200 Meter Freestyle Relay for boys ages 15-18. This capped off a long day of swimming and also sealed the deal for the first ever Cherry Bowl Championship awarded to Erlton Swim Club.