No matter the sport, it has been said that championship teams must do certain things in order to separate themselves from the competition. Beat the teams you should beat; if a loss is suffered, take advantage of an opportunity to avenge it; play the best and beat the best. The 1998 Johnson City girls’ swim team did all of this and more on their route to being crowned the New York State Class B champions.
Johnson City Athletic Hall of Fame coach Jim White knew that he would have to put together a very challenging dual meet schedule in order for his team to be voted #1 in the New York State rankings. The season got off to a challenging start with a very close loss to a New Hartford (Utica area) team that had finished the previous season as the Class B state champions. From that point forward, it was nothing but victories for the Wildcats. They defeated an Ithaca team that had built a very impressive dual meet winning streak on their way to a NYS Class A championship in the fall of 1997. They shocked Rochester-area powerhouse Pittsford-Mendon, and they avenged their first dual meet loss by coming back later in the season to overcome New Hartford in their second matchup. By beating the best teams in the state, the Wildcats had clearly staked their claim to their rightful #1 ranking.
The 1998 team accomplished the ultimate goal for any team by winning the state championship, but they also had numerous individual achievements that were noteworthy. Led by team captains Erin Tokos, April Parrotte, and Christine Cipar, several records were set during the 1998 season and two remain in place to this day. The 200 medley relay team consisting of Erin Tokos, Korah Kozel, Jessica Hartman, and Sarah Verdon own the Wildcat record with a time of 1:52.76. This relay team also finished 6th at the state swim meet to end the season. Additionally, Erin Tokos set the 100 Backstroke record that is still in place today with a time of 1:01.48.
The Johnson City Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to welcome the team that conquered the best competition from throughout New York State and became the only swim team in school history to win a state title, the 1998 Girls’ Varsity Swim Team.
Jessica Blasik Tori Hatch Jenn Murphy Sharon Peppard
Lindsay Slocum Sarah Verdon Jessica Johnston Monica Fian
Jessica Preece Julia O’Brien Jenn Sweetland Tiffany Vitali
Jessica Hartman Korah Kozel Jaime Parrotte Jessica Rake
Julie Wright Kristen Thompson
Jim White Chris Verity Patricia Yannuzzi Jason Ligator (manager)