Eden Christian's lone swimmer making mark for school
Eden Christian Academy does not have a swimming team or pool, but that has not stopped senior Mary Margaret Folz from excelling.
After finishing second a year ago, Folz has high hopes of winning the 100-yard freestyle at the WPIAL Class AA girls championship, to be held Feb. 28 and March 1 at the University of Pittsburgh's Trees Pool.
Folz also expects improvement in the 200 freestyle, where she finished fourth last season.
The school's only swimmer, Folz was the first from Eden Christian to compete at the WPIAL meet.
“Last year, I didn't know what to expect at WPIALs,” she said. “This year, I'll know.”
Folz swims year-round with the Deer Lakes Aquatic Club, where coach Steve Seidelson shares her optimism.
“After hitting a plateau, she's really improved her times and gained a lot of confidence,” Seidelson said.
So far, Folz's top marks in high school competition came at the WPIAL championship, where she swam the 100 freestyle in 54.14 seconds and the 200 freestyle in 1:57.7l seconds.
Folz competes independently with Deer Lakes High School in dual meets.
“I'd like being on a team, but am proud to represent my school,” said Folz, 18, who has been swimming competitively since she was 6 or 7.
Eden Christian administrator Todd Aiken considers Folz an ideal student-athlete.
“Her tremendous success is a result of her commitment to giving her best in any endeavor,” he said. “We as a school have enjoyed celebrating her success and look forward to an outstanding finish to her scholastic swimming career.”
Folz is considering competing next year at St. Francis University, Denison University or Kenyon College.
She is not the only member of her family to have had success as a swimmer.
Her brother, Francis, was a standout on a Mars boys team that was PIAA Class AA runner-up a year ago. He finished third in the WPIAL in the boys 200 freestyle.
A sophomore at Mars, Francis Folz also trains with the Deer Lakes Aquatic Club.
“Most of the time Mary and I practice in the same lane,” he said. “We motivate each other.”
“We have races between swimmers, and the one between Mary Margaret and Francis is one of the best,” Seidelson said. “Being a boy, Francis is stronger, but Mary Margaret does her best to keep up.”
Seidelson said they are great role models, adding that their brother, Joseph, a freshman at Mars, also belongs to the Deer Lakes Aquatic Club.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.