SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — When Laura Hartman was making waves as a freshman last season, Abington Heights girls swimming coach Mary Gromelski quickly noticed her talent.
As Hartman continues to mature and improve her technique, Gromelski feels she will experience even more success in the pool.
“She has always been a very solid swimmer, but she’s getting stronger and stronger as she’s getting older and her muscles are developing,” Gromelski said. “She’s one of my utility swimmers, I can put her in any type of race.
“I expect her times to slowly drop and hopefully with all the yardage we’ve been slowly putting on them, we’re going to have a really good taper (heading into districts).”
Hartman’s versatility has been evident throughout the season. She has picked up first-place finishes in the 100 butterfly, 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and 200 individual medley as well as the 200 and 400 freestyle and 200 medley relay events.
“Right now, we’re toying with three or four different events that she can possibly swim for districts,” Gromelski said. “Actually, she can swim all of them, we’re just going to see where she can do her best.”
Hartman, 15, most enjoys swimming the individual medley due to its complexities.
“It’s diverse and you use all the strokes,” she said. “You also gain a lot of endurance from the race.”
Gromelski believes Hartman’s dedication to the sport has played a big role in her early success in the Lady Comets program.
“She has a fantastic work ethic and doesn’t miss a practice,” Gromelski said. “She’s very loyal and dedicated to the team, and is a fantastic competitor.”
Laura, the daughter of Richard and Susan Hartman, the boys swimming coach at Abington Heights, was introduced to the sport at a young age and has continued to evolve as an athlete.
“I’ve been swimming competitively since I’ve been 5-years-old,” Hartman said. “My mom has been coaching for a while and got me into it.”
Hartman ranked the team’s second-place finish at the District 2 Class 2A championships last season as one of her favorite moments during her time with the team.
“It was really nice because even though we didn’t win, we had a really fun time and made it to states which was also really fun,” she said.
The South Abington Township resident credits the guidance from the coaching staff along with tips from upperclassmen for her development as a swimmer.
“I think I’ve definitely improved a lot,” she said. “We do a lot of technique work with starts and turns at practice. They also taught me that if you have a positive attitude, your races will turn out well.”
Abington Heights has a 4-2 record and Hartman believes the team’s close knit bond, formed through 6 a.m. practices, has contributed to its success.
“We motivate each other to go to as many practices as possible and do well in meets,” she said. “Being a part of the team has helped my social skills and I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s just a really nice experience.”
Hartman and the Lady Comets will return to the pool when they host Holy Cross at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28 in a Lackawanna League meet.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.