P.O. Female Athlete of the Week: Danielle Pong
To say that last week was a big one for Chambersburg native Danielle Pong would be an understatement.
Just days after signing her National Letter of Intent to swim at American University, a Division I program in the Patriot League, Pong aided the Mercersburg Academy swim team to a complete sweep of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League championships, winning four different events - two individual and two relay events.
But that wasn't the first time Mercersburg has dominated the field this season.
"We've had a good season so far," Pong said. "Our last meet against Peddie we also won all of the events, and we are hoping to repeat a win at the Eastern Swimming and Diving Championships."
Pong won the 100 breaststroke (1:05.67)and the 50 freestyle (0:55.19) at the MAPL championships, and was a part of the winning 200 free (1:42.11), and 200 medley relay (1:49.73) teams. She swam her season best in both of the individual races, and swam her best-ever breaststroke split (29.11) during the 200 medley.
"Our relays did really well; we weren't expecting to win the 200 free, and I'm surprised with how well I swam," Pong said. "I have a cold and I've been sick, and this is the hardest part of our training right now."
"She had a great day from start to finish," Mercersburg coach Glenn Neufeld said. "She's a great example of kids coming up through the program. She was a good athlete when she got here, but she's really matured in her training and racing. She's come out in the last two years and especially the end of this season it's been really enjoyable to watch."
Danielle Pong, Mercersburg Academy
Events: 100 breaststroke, 50 freestyle, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay
Parents: Marianne and Cary Pong
Other interests: She is a member of the Green Team Club and Skateboarding Club at Mercersburg.
Athlete most admired: Rebecca Soni and Michael Phelps
Surprising fact: She is the second oldest of five Pong siblings. She has an older sister and three younger brothers.
Future plans: Pong signed her National Letter of Intent to attend American University for swimming on Feb. 2. She will swim the 100 breaststroke and the 50 free, and potentially the 200 breaststroke and 100 freestyle.
Statistics: On the way to aiding Mercersburg's sweep at the MAPL Championships on Saturday, Pong claimed two individual first-place finishes (100 breaststroke, 1:05.67; 50 freestyle, 0:55.19) and was also a part of two top finishes for the 200 free and 200 medley relay teams, who finished in 1:42.11 and 1:49.73, respectively.