Boys swimming season preview: Trojans ‘deeper than they look’

Even though Chambersburg graduated “two of the best boys to ever come through the program,” according to Trojan swim coach Chad White — Avery Barley and Jacob Greenwood — White still believes he has a pretty good team in place for the 2019-20 season.

Chad White

Chad White

Chambersburg opens its season Thursday at the Chambersburg YMCA at 4 p.m. against Carlisle. The Trojans were 7-2 (4-2 MPC) last year.

“We have 13 kids and one is dealing with an injury, and you need 12 to fill all of the individual events,” White said. “But we’re deeper than we look. We have 11 swimmers with club experience and five of them recently went to a meet in North Carolina and swam very fast.”

Barley, who has already set school records at Messiah College in the 100 and 200 backstroke and 100 butterfly, and Greenwood (at Penn State, but not competing) spent the last four years racking up plenty of District 3 and PIAA medals. So they do leave some pretty big holes.

But Chambersburg returns three swimmers who qualified for states last year and five who competed in the District 3 championships.

“I expect a lot of guys to qualify for districts, and four or five and maybe two relays to get to states,” White said.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

At the top of the list is senior C.J. Pong, who will compete in the freestyle sprints, backstroke, butterfly and IM. Last year in the backstroke, he was 3rd in the district and 15th at states, and 4th at districts and 14th at the PIAA meet in the fly.

White said, “He is swimming very fast right now, and we have a lot of options for events with him.”

Senior Michael Johnson (11th in D-3 breaststroke) and junior Aidan McMillen (17th D-3 200 free) both swam on relay teams in the PIAA meet last year.

“They’re both looking strong,” White said. “Johnson’s breaststroke time is already almost as fast as his best last year.”

C.J. Pong

C.J. Pong

Two other veterans are juniors Colby Estep, who was 14th in the district 500 free, and Gavin Vink, who qualified for districts in two freestyle events.

White said, “Estep is already way ahead of the times he swam in districts.”

Also expected to score points for Chambersburg are sophomore Jacob Shifler and freshmen Robert Pong, Joseph Drexler and Owen McMillen. Shifler qualified for the Mid Penns last year and the three rookies have plenty of club experience.

“I think we’re pretty deep and will compete in a lot of duals,” White said. “It’s tough to beat teams like Hershey, Cumberland Valley and State College, but we can be competitive.”