State Championships Uphold Pennsylvania’s Rich Tradition

By John Lohn

LEWISBURG, Penn., March 23. DAVE Wharton and Kristy Kowal. Brendan Hansen and Carl Robie. Jeremy Linn and Maddy Crippen. There’s no questioning the talent that has passed through Pennsylvania swimming.

So, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise last week to see blazing times from the Pennsylvania State Championships, a four-day event held at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium. Simply, sizzling swims were the norm.

The headliner of the weekend was Michelle King, a junior sprint sensation from Spring Grove High. En route to a pair of state records in the Class AAA (large school) competition, King clocked 22.80 in the 50 free and came back with a 49.54 mark in the 100 free.

Kelly Nelson also doubled, as the West Chester East standout took top honors in the 100 butterfly (55.29) and the 500 freestyle, with the latter win arriving in a state-record time of 4:49.54. She was joined as a record-breaker by Gettysburg’s Tricia Weaner in the 100 backstroke (55.44) and Hempfield’s Kate Riefenstahl (1:48.84). Meanwhile, West Chester East’s Caitlin Meehan was the victor in the 100 breaststroke. The cousin of Brendan Hansen, Meehan went 1:03.43.

Boyertown’s Shayna Longacre took first in the 200 individual medley (2:04.79) and Courtney Adlam won the diving competition. Emmaus outdistanced Parkland for the team title.

In the Class AAA boys competition, the Southeastern Pennsylvania triumvirate of Matt Golebiewski (Plymouth Whitemarsh), Dong Kim (Central Bucks South) and Patrick Schirk (Owen J. Roberts) was dominant. Golebiewski took the distance free double, winning the 200 in a state-record time of 1:38.42 and the 500 in 4:28.02.

Kim took a double in the sprints, thanks to times of 20.65 and 46.00 and Schirk claimed gold in the 100 backstroke with a scorching state mark of 48.96. Schirk also placed second in the 200 I.M., finishing behind Cedar Crest’s Cody Weik (1:50.33). Other wins went to Baldwin’s Ray Toomey in the 100 butterfly (49.75) and North Penn’s Adam Reynolds in the 100 breast (57.19). Perkiomen Valley’s Dave Roberts won the diving event and Wilson took first in the team standings, ahead of North Penn.

Hershey High won the Class AA boys championship for the third consecutive year and Cocalico’s Stan Czarnecki emerged as the meet’s star, behind wins in the 100 butterfly (50.12) and the 100 backstroke (51.25). Doubles were also picked up by West York’s Rodney King in the distance freestyles (1:42.09/4:36.49) and Mechanicsburg’s John Cremo in the 200 I.M. (1:56.94) and 100 breast (58.58).

Ligonier Valley’s Ryan Thiel won the 50 free in 21.24 and Clearfield’s John Lytle took the 100 free in 46.15. The diving competition was captured by Dallas’ Alaric Eby.

For the Class AA girls, East Pennsboro freshman Leah Gingrich was the standout. The Olympic Trials participant won the 200 free in 1:49.31 and the 500 in 4:50.09. She was joined as a double winner by Bishop Hoban’s Caroline Byron in the sprints (23.78/51.55).

Oakland Catholic’s Mallory Dietrich won the 100 breast in a state-record 1:02.86 and Yough’s Kelsey Grushecky picked up a state record in the 100 butterfly (55.45). Panther Valley’s Alyssa Vavra won the 200 I.M. in 2:03.71 and Hershey took the team title ahead of Oakland Catholic. Danville’s Ryann Kishbaugh won the 100 back (57.84).

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