Crouthamel hopes to lead Wood to crown

Sophomore unbeaten in league competition

By Lyle Fitzsimmons - Intelligencer Staff Writer - 3-5-98

Archbishop Wood's Carol Crouthamel is heading into this weekend hoping to stay away from the one thing she hasn't had in a Philadelphia Catholic League swim meet all season. A loss. Unbeaten during the league schedule in her two speciality individual events, the 200-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard individual medley, Crouthamel will lead the Vikings into the pool once again this weekend as they take part in the annual PCL championship meet at La Salle University. A 16-year-old sophomore, Crouthamel will begin girls preliminary-round competition Saturday at 1 p.m. Early round action on the boys side will start Saturday at 9 a.m., while championship races for all will get under way Sunday at 11 a.m. The Vikings finished third among girls teams in the regular-season standings, behind only first-place Cardinal O'Hara and runner-up Archbishop Prendergast. "The team is hoping to go and work on achieving personal bests, and we're hoping to win the whole thing," Crouthamel said. "We don't know if that's possible or not, but it's still what we've wanted to set our goals on. "I think the season went very well for the team as a whole, and we pretty much did what we expected to do. We were pretty sure that O'Hara was the team to beat to begin with, but we were a lot closer to (Prendergast). I think it came down to our last relay with them." Crouthamel is coming off a solid performance at last week's Eastern Interscholastic Championship meet at La Salle, where she took a second in the 100 breaststroke and a ninth in the 200 IM. The PCL meet, however, will mark just the halfway point of a much longer individual season for the Southampton resident, who swims nearly year-round for the Spirit Swim Club, based at the George School in Newtown. Two-a-day training sessions four days a week are the norm for Crouthamel from September through early April, and from late April to August, preparing her for competition in open events sponsored by USSwimming. She will take part this spring and summer in national events in both Minnesota and Cailfornia, where she will have the opportunity to qualify for the 2000 Olympic Trials by beating pre-posted times in her two speciality races. Crouthamel said she has already surpassed the necessary 200 breaststroke time of 2 minutes, 35 seconds in training sessions, but must do so in one of the nationally sponsored races to reach the Trials. She has already beaten the times that were needed for previous Olympic Trials qualification as well. "That's always been my goal, to make it to the Olympic Trials and have a nice college swimming career," Crouthamel said. "I don't really see myself swimming at an Olympic Games-level, but to be able to compete at the Trials would be awesome." "She is an Olympic-caliber swimmer," Wood coach Charlie Stillwell said. "I think something like that is definitely within the realm of possibility for her if she keeps progressing as she has been. She's at least got to be in the running for it." Crouthamel began her pool career as a youngster and said she began taking the training aspect more seriously as a seventh-grader. Her current regimen includes lengthy in-pool sessions as well as "dry land" work featuring extensive stretching, weightlifting and running exercises. The heavy physical workload leaves Crouthamel without the normal social life of a high school student her age, but it's a sacrifice she said she makes willingly. "I think I've learned to manage my time well. Whenever I'm not swimming, I can come home and catch a nap, and I make time to go out to movies with my friends and things like that," Crouthamel said. "I have my Saturday nights to myself and those are important to me, but I know I'm not going to have the same kind of life as a lot of my friends do. I know if I want to reach certain goals, I have to give some things up."