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Coronavirus Denies Fresa's Bid for State Gold
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-03-18

            About one hour after checking into her hotel room, Noel Fresa received the bad news on her cell phone: the PIAA Class 2A swimming championships had been postponed due to concerns about COVID-19. On the ride home from Bucknell

Noel Fresa displays the medals she won at the Dist-

rict One Class 2A Swimming Championships.  Con-

cerns over COVID-19 prevented the Upper Perkio-

men senior from competing in the PIAA Champ-

ionships.

University on March 12, the Upper Perkiomen senior cried.

            "It was devastating," Fresa said a few days later. "I was so ready to race. I'm still angry."

Head coach Brien Kalnoski understood her disappointment while expressing his own sadness. According to the coach, Fresa had a legitimate opportunity to become the school's first double state champion in 32 years.

            "Noel's been training for this meet for four years," Kalnoski said.

            The cancellation also prevented Fresa, Kayman Heater, Darragh Martin and Devin Romanowski from competing in the 200 and 400 free relays in the 2A event.

            Fresa, the most prolific female swimmer in school history who owns nine team and one pool record, appeared to be peaking in the final two weeks of practice. The coach said the the swimmer – who came into states as the No. 2 seed in the 100 free and the top seed in the 200 free – seemed prime to excel.

            "She looked great in the water," Kalnoski said. "Based on her body position in the pool, I could tell Noel was ready to go."

            However, Fresa – who qualified for states in four straight years and collected four medals, as well as capturing a district gold medal in three consecutive years – never got the opportunity to duplicate the feat accomplished by Greg Reihman, who won PIAA gold medals in the 200 free and 500 free events in 1988. In support of recommendations of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and health officials across the country, PIAA officials determined that large indoor sporting events should not continue as the country seeks to contain the spread of the virus.

            The decision by the association to instill a two-week hiatus in the swimming championships will allow schools time to perform self-assessments and make decisions to promote optimal health conditions in their communities, according to a March 12 news release. Kalnoski has not received any information regarding a restart of the AA championships. The coach said he doesn't expect the meet to be rescheduled.  "As much as I don't want that to be the case, that may be the reality, he said. "I hope I am 100 percent wrong."

            Fresa isn't ruling out hope. She continues to eat healthy, get plenty of sleep and remain in shape. However, she doesn't know where she could resume training for the event, which could be rescheduled as early as March 26.

            "I hope it happens," Fresa said. "But I don't think it will. It sucks that I worked four years to accomplish this goal, and I'll never get to know if I could do it."

            According to Kalnoski, the swimmer must not worry about the past. He said Fresa needs to focus on her future, which includes competing at Lehigh University.  "Noel is going to have a great college career," the coach said. "She can't afford to dwell on the past."

            On Wednesday, March 11, Sean Lyman competed on the Class 3A division at states. He finished 18th in the 200 IM with a time of 1:56.49. The following day, the junior ended up 22nd in the 500 free with a time of 4:43.

            "I felt like I swam pretty good," Lyman said. "It was a really good experience. There were some really good performers there. It provided added motivation for next year."


 

 

 

 

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