,em>This is the third in a series of six articles profiling the Seneca Valley Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
WASHINGTON — “There is no work without reward, nor reward without work.”
It was a quote Eric Marton heard or read somewhere along the way and it fueled his success as a swimmer.
A 1996 Seneca Valley graduate, Marton held all but two individual event records at one time for the Raiders. He qualified for the WPIAL and PIAA meets all four years of high school.
His efforts more than 20 years ago have earned him a spot in the SV Sports Hall of Fame. He will be inducted as part of the Class of 2018 in September.
Marton, a native of Cranberry Township, began swimming several years before reaching SV’s varsity team.
“It takes a while for a swimmer to find his niche,” said Marton. “First, you have to become strong enough to swim, then you have to build technique. You have to find events that match your strength, speed and body type.
“For me, the breaststroke was my Kryptonite. It just wasn’t for me. So, I focused on the butterfly, backstroke and sprint freestyle events.”
Marton began swimming at the University of Pittsburgh during the summer months and it started to pay dividends. He earned a spot at the state meet, held at Penn State University, as a freshman in the 100-yard butterfly.
He continued to put the work in. The practice environment was an encouraging one.
“The people that you’re with can make you laugh and have a good time. That was a big part of it,” Marton said. “A friend of mine, Justin Strock, we swam some of the same events and we pushed each other.”
Marton won a WPIAL Class AAA title in the 100 backstroke his senior year. He had placed fifth in the event at states his junior year with a junior national qualifying time.
He capped his time with the Raiders with a pair of seventh-place efforts at states in the backstroke and butterfly and helping SV place fourth in the 200 freestyle in March 1996.
The only two events Marton did not at one time hold a school record in were the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.
“If I took one more rep in practice, it helped me,” said Marton. “And if I became better, that helped the team. I didn’t want to let anybody down.”
Marton continued his swimming career at James Madison University where he received a scholarship.
“The training was more intense,” he said. “College swimming is of a different caliber. You have one day off per week and a total of eight training sessions in six days, between the pool and dry-land training.
“But I had no problem transitioning to college life. The time management that I learned from being a swimmer, I knew what I had to do and when I needed to do it.”
Marton helped JMU to a pair of Colonial Athletic Association titles and won an individual conference title in the backstroke his junior year.
He earned degrees in computer information systems and operation management. He works as a contractor for the federal government and remains active by biking trails in the area surrounding Washington, D.C.
“I spent so much of my life staring at a black line, it’s nice to see some different scenery,” he said. “Biking gives me that.
“A lot of people pay attention to swimming every four years because of the Olympics, then forget about it,” he said. “I’m glad to see swimming get some recognition.”