Locals expect strong showing at D4 Swimming Championships
The District 4 Swimming and Diving Championships run the next two days at Williamsport High School and area swimmers will be hoping for big things.
Swimming starts today and Thursday at 6 p.m. each day.
Today the 200 medley relay, the 200 free, the 200 IM, the 50 free, 100 fly and 200 free relay will be held.
On Thursday the 100 free, 500 free, 100 back, 100 breast and 400 free relay will be the events held.
In the girls' 200 medley relay Athens team of Taylor Lane, Courtney Dukes, Maggie Cole and Katie Phykitt are the sixth seed at 2:07.20 and Central Columbia is the top seed at 2:00.67.
For the boys Athens' team of Frank Chen, Bryan Solomon, Tyler Solomon and Kurt Walck is the second seed at 1:44.85 and the top seed is Bloomsburg at 1:43.50. Towanda's team of Austin Kriner, Mike Caine, Derrick Cole and Blake Burlingame is seeded fifth at 1:51.03.
Athens' Courtney Dukes (2:12.20) is the third seed and Sayre's Grace McClelland (2:12.76) is the fourth seed in the 200 free relay. The top seed is Sydney Mercer of Millville at 2:04.12.
For the boys Nathan Cotner of Wellsboro is the second seed at 1:53.15 and the top seed is Adon Shapiro of Lewisburg at 1:51.48. In the 200 IM Emilie Kramer of Wellsboro is the fourth seed (2:23.87), Courtney Locke of Towanda is the fifth seed (2:25.10) and Taylor Lane of Athens is the sixth seed (2:25.80). The top seed is Caitlin Foley of Lewisburg at 2:16.66.
For the boys Jeremy Butters of Mansfield is the fourth seed at 2:06.07. Hunter Crum of Central Columbia is the top seed at 2:00.77.
Wellsboro's Olivia Kurtz (26.39) and Mikayla Feil (26.44) are the fourth and fifth seeds in the 50 free. Adriana Grabski of Mifflinburg is the top seed at 24.87.
Towanda's Burlingame is the top seed for the boys at 21.97 and Walck is the fifth seed at 23.70, followed by Blair Carson of Wellsboro at 23.86.
In the 100 fly for the girls Katherine Porter of Sayre is the top seed at 59.74 and for the boys Chen is the top seed at 54.11, while teammate Bryan Solomon is the fourth seed at 58.79. Porter is the top seed by over three seconds for the girls and Chen is the top seed by over two seconds for the boys.
In the 200 free relay Athens girls' team of Phykitt, Lane, Cole and Dukes is seeded fourth at 1:54.60 and Central Columbia is the top seed at 1:46.29. Sayre's team of McClelland, Porter, Emily Schamel and Megan Middlebrook is seeded fifth at 1:55.20.
Towanda's boys' team of Burlingame, Kerrick, Cole and Caine is the top seed at 1:34.61 and Athens team of Jeffrey Gao, Troy Stivason, Walck and Tyler Solomon is seeded fourth at 1:35.99.
On Thursday in the 100 free for the girls Kurtz is the third seed at 57.57, Porter is fourth at 57.89 and Feil is the fifth at 58.30. Grabski is the top seed at 54.45.
For the boys Cotner is the fifth seed at 51.02 and the top seed is James Orzolek of Bloomsburg at 49.21.
In the 500 free for the girls Dukes is the fifth seed at 5:52.60 and Violet Learn of North Penn is the sixth seed at 5:55.19 and the top seed is Mercer at 5:30.40.
For the boys Butters is the fourth seed at 5:02.84 and Bryan Solomon is the sixth seed at 5:30.30. The top seed is Shapiro at 4:50.04.
In the 100 back Locke is the second seed at 1:03.81 and Lane is the third seed at 1:05.10. Foley is the top seed at 1:00.51.
Chen is the top seed for the boys in 53.68, almost six seconds faster than the two seed. Matthew Weed of Mansfield is the fourth seed at 1:01.43 and Gao is the fifth seed at 1:01.58.
In the 100 breaststroke Kramer is the fifth seed for the girls in 1:15.47 and the sixth seed is Elizabeth Schultz of Towanda at 1:15.79. Samantha Carpenter of Shamokin is the top seed at 1:11.52.
For the boys Tyler Solomon is the fourth seed at 1:07.70 and Cole is the sixth seed at 1:07.90. The top seed is Noah Crawford of Bloomsburg at 1:00.70.
Athens team of Megan Dukes, Elizabeth Ondrey, Maggi Mahonski and Lauren Pruyne is seeded fourth in the 400 free relay. The top seed is Central Columbia at 3:55.55.
For the boys Athens team of Gao, Chen, Walck and Bryan Solomon is the second seed at 3:31.04 and the top seed is Bloomsburg at 3:28.74.
BURLINGAME HOPES FOR 50 TITLE
A year ago Burlingame made it to states, but he had to wait around, wondering if he was going to make it.
The winner of each event automatically qualifies for states. After that it comes down to time and seeing if you have one of the top times to get a wild card spot in states.
This year Burlingame enters districts as the top seed and he's hoping he can win the district title and lock up his spot in states without having to sweat it out and wonder if his time is good enough.
"I'm really hoping to get back there," he said. "It's my last year. I want to peak this year. I hope to get first and then I don't have to wait and not know (if I made states)."
Last year was tough for Burlingame waiting to find out if his time was fast enough.
"It's hard not knowing if you make it," he said.
After making states as a junior, it just made Burlingame want it even more this year.
"It definitely makes me work harder," he said. "I definitely want to back my last year."
The time of 21.97 for Burlingame came at the NTL meet and allowed him to break a school record he was chasing for over a year.
"I was trying for the record for a long time," he said. "I hope I can do that (swim sub 22 seconds) down there (at districts)."
While Burlingame is looking for a repeat trip to states in the 50 free, he is also hoping to be having some company this year.
The Black Knights are the top seeds in the 200 free relay and the Towanda senior hopes the group can make it to states.
"I want to get the 200 free relay to go," he said. "That's a big goal this year."
PORTER LOOKING FOR FOUR TRIPS IN FOUR YEARS
One look at the seeds and you will find Katherine Porter atop the list in the 100 fly.
The Sayre senior is the top seed by over three seconds, giving her a good chance of winning the event and getting to states.
For the Redskins standout a trip to states would be her fourth in four years.
"I would really just enjoy returning for the fourth time and see what becomes of it," Porter said.
Porter knows that making it to states four straight years would be a pretty special thing.
"That would be a great accomplishment," she said. "It's something I would really be able to reflect upon sometime."
So far her senior season has been a special one.
"I have enjoyed the season, and the team," she said.
And, she knows that all the work this season has led to the next two days.
"This is when all the hard work comes to pay off," she said.
Things are a little different this year with districts moving to Williamsport High School.
"It definitely is different adjusting to a new pool," she said. "But, we have been down there and it's nice there."
Porter is a part of two Sayre relays, the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay, and with so many seniors on the relays she is excited to spend one more meet with the girls.
"The girls are working really hard in the relays," Porter said. "We have four seniors on the one relay and three seniors on the other. It will be good to have one more districts together and try and finish strong."
BACK TO WORK FOR CHEN
A state medalist last year, there was a time that Chen was tired of swimming.
The Athens standout didn't want to swim anymore and just wanted the season to end.
However, Chen started to realize that it is his senior year. His last chance to go to districts and then states and he knew he had to get back to work.
"Halfway through the season I did not want to swim anymore," he said. "I had no motivation. Once it got close to the end I realized it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"I'm pretty excited. I will find out if I can make up that time now."
The energy is back and Chen is anxious to swim the next two days and try and get back to states and get back onto the podium at states.
"I am starting to feel like I used to," he said. "I am swimming better. This is the most meaningful (districts). It's my last time for everything."
Chen has tried to enjoy his senior year and he's had fun watching the younger swimmers at Athens. He's also tried his hardest to get them motivated to swim their best.
"This year has been so nice," he said. "I try not to overlook anything. We have a really talented group of swimmers. These guys really have to work on their times. They have to work hard in the pool."
The Athens standout has tried to take on a bigger leadership role.
"I want to pass everything I know on to them," he said.
NEW EXPERIENCE, BIG GOALS FOR BUTTERS
Freshman Butters will enter districts with a shot to do well in a couple of events.
The Mansfield swimmer enters the meet with two top five seeds in the 200 IM and the 500 free.
While districts is something new to him, his experience from club swimming has him pretty confident that he will be able to handle the experience.
"I've been to big meets before," he said. "I'm not worried about it. It's another swim meet really."
While he isn't worried about handling the pressure of districts, he does know how important the meet is.
Butters is hoping to be able to get to states and he knows this meet is his opportunity to reach the goal.
"It's a big deal," he said. "I know I have a good chance in the 500."
Having been to Williamsport earlier this season Butters has an idea of what to expect swimming there.
"It helps," he said. "I know what the blocks are like now."
The freshman knows the competition will be tough, but he believes he is ready for it.
"I started swimming when I was four," he said. 'I have lots of experience at lots of meets. I know what to expect. It will be tough, but I think I can do it."
FINDING MOTIVATION FOR LOCKE
Throughout the season whenever Towanda's Courtney Locke found herself in a big race, she often swam some of her best times of the year.
While it is good to see that she can rise to the challenge the Black Knights sophomore wants to be able to push herself.
"I shouldn't have to have people push me and motivate me," she said. "I should be able to motivate myself."
Motivation won't be a problem for Locke the next two days at districts as a spot in states is on the line.
And, since she has swam her best against the better swimmers all year, Locke knows she is capable of big things.
Getting to states is something that is on Locke's mind.
"It definitely makes me work harder," she said.
Over the past couple of years she has watched her dad, Towanda coach Mike Locke, take a number of boys swimmers to states, and this year she hopes to make that trip as well.
"That would be nice to do that," she said of being able to go to states with her dad. "I want to go myself and I want to see all the girls work hard and be able to do big things."
The Towanda sophomore will be focusing on the 100 back and knows she has to swim well.
"I just want to do the best I can," she said.
Locke knows what is at stake the next couple days. Not only is she hoping to earn a trip to states, but she also wants the reward that comes with that trip.
"You get to get out of school," Locke said with a smile.
A WHOLE NEW WORLD FOR LANE
All season long Athens freshman Lane has been among the better swimmers in the NTL.
Now, she heads to her first district meets and she is ready to find out what it is like.
"I am excited," she said. "But, I don't really know what to expect."
The Wildcats standout knows she will face some great competition, but swimming in a league with some good swimmers has helped her adjust to varsity swimming.
"When you swim in a league around tons of talented girls it does help," she said. "You are not as disappointed when you don't get first."
For Lane, and many freshman, that's a big adjustment as they are used to winning all the time in junior high and in younger age group divisions of club meets.
"It's definitely hard for a lot of girls and guys," she said. "When you always win you get used to it."
One of the challenges for Lane this year has been focusing on one key event.
She has spent a lot of the year having success in a number of events, but she has narrowed things down for districts.
"Probably the 100 back," Lane said. "I'm going to try to focus on that the most."
And, while it is her first trip to districts Lane has some big goals.
"I want to try and make it to states my first year," she said. "I am going to try my best."
NEW CHALLENGES FOR FRANTZ
For the past few years Sayre's Frantz has put plenty of energy toward working to be the best swimmer he can be.
Now it is his senior year and he hopes to finish strong. However, the Sayre standout has found that there are plenty of other commitments and challenges for seniors.
"It's been a lot rougher for me trying to get all my college applications out," Frantz said. "I have not been able to work as much, but I'm excited for districts."
For Frantz there isn't a more exciting time than the next two days.
"Districts is always the best part of the season," Frantz said. "We are tapered and have more speed."
While he has been to states the past two years and went to states in two events last year, the Sayre senior knows there is some work to do to make up for the time he missed getting ready for college.
"I hope I can make up for the last couple of weeks," Frantz said.
This year will be a new experience for Frantz as they swim districts at Williamsport.
"I am excited to try a new pool at Williamsport for the district competition," he said.
The whole season has been a little bit new for Frantz as he has had a number of new teammates in the relays with him.
"We have a lot of new guys who have really done a good job," he said. "Mitchel Ward is a first year swimmer and he has dropped an insane amount of time. They all have improved so much."
ADDED EXPERIENCE FOR KRAMER
The first time Kramer made it to districts it was a big adjustment for the Wellsboro swimmer.
This time Kramer is ready for the atmosphere of districts.
"Freshman year I went in and was really overwhelmed at Bucknell," she said. 'It's a huge meet, I know what to expect more now."
This time the Green Hornets standout is anxious for the chance to swim at districts.
"I am really excited," she said.
And, Kramer has a better idea of what things will be like down at Williamsport High School the next two days.
"I know right now that I have to work hard," she said. "I have been down there before. I know about times and where I should be and need to be."
Kramer's key event is the 200 IM and she's hoping for a good time that will help her make it to states.