HomeCherry Hill NewsCherry Hill West swimming looking to repeat as champions

Cherry Hill West swimming looking to repeat as champions

Three coaches in three seasons is not typically the recipe for a program to have continued success. Consider the Lions’ swim team of Cherry Hill High School West the exception.

Under first-year head coach Dan Rogers, the Lions finished last season with a record of 10–2. The hope is to continue building on that success.

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“I’m definitely looking for us to be more consistent,” Rogers said. “It’s always going to take time. The team has to get used to my style. I had to adjust as well. Hopefully we’re moving past that and can add to West’s tradition of being competitive.”

Adding to that tradition is the fact that West has been home to some of the state’s finest swimmers, divers and coaches for many years. Among the best aquatic athletes in the school’s history are Cherry Hill West Athletic Hall of Fame inductees Elaine Johnson, Barry Adamson, John Yacovelle and the extraordinary Alison Maisch who was named South Jersey’s Outstanding Female Diver all four of her years at West. Maisch went on to become an NCAA national champion at LSU and a silver medalist at the 1991 Pan-American Games.

More recent, Lady Lion squads have included 1996 two-event state champion and All-American 200 IM swimmer Leslie Hoh; All-American back stroke and former national record-holder Jennelle Ritchie; All-American diver Allison May, who placed third in NISCA’s 1998 National High School Diving Championships; All-American freestyle sprinter and butterfly champion Katie Kopil; and All-American diver Liza Marianni, who was the state champion and was named All-America three times. Ritchie and Kopil recently were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame as well.

“The tradition is something the school and the team take pride in,” Rogers said. “Each year, we want to add to that legacy.”

The Lady Lion swimming and diving team will forever hold the honor of having won the first women’s state team championship in 1974. Combined teams added two more crowns in 1987 and 1988. West captured the 1998 Public Division B State Championship, defeating opponents by an average of 53 points along the way in the state tournament. In 2005–06, the Lady Lions ended Vineland’s streak of 62 straight meet victories and five consecutive state championships by defeating the Fighting Clan 87–83 in a thrilling South Section Semifinal en route to their first Public A State Championship. Most recently, South and Central NJ sectional titles were added in 2007, 2011 and 2012. Rogers is quick to share the credit.

“Our teams owe their winning traditions to the commitment of their members to the water. Many are year-round contributors to United States Swimming and YMCA clubs as well as leaders of South Jersey’s Tri-County Swimming Pool Association teams in the summer,” Rogers said.

For the Lions, they hope that commitment will pay off as early as this season.

“We have the talent, the ability and the will to succeed,” Rogers said. “It’s just about going out and doing it.”


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