WILKES-BARRE — Morgan Hanadel had more than enough time to envision the 100 yard butterfly race. And after eight events and an excruciatingly long 10-minute break, waiting seemed to be the hardest part.
She just wanted to swim. She had a district record on her mind.
When her time finally came, the Wyoming Valley West senior did what she does best. Hanadel broke a 32-year old district record with a 58.86-second finish in the 100 butterfly at the District 2 Class 3A Swimming Championships Saturday at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center pool. She broke Wyoming Area graduate A’lisa Woicicki’s 1981 record of 59 seconds flat by 14-hundreths of a second.
In full disclosure, Hanadel admitted to be surprised when she looked up at the leaderboard.
“I had no idea that I was going that fast,” she said. “I’m going to states, so I can’t get much faster than that.”
Hanadel was at it again a race later. She was part of a 200 free relay team — along with Desiree Holena, Alexandria Plant and Lydia Ellsworth — that shaved 4.34 seconds off its seed time for a mark of 1:43.16 that won district gold.
Hazleton Area remains atop the girls team standings after day one with 170 points and a 25-point advantage over Delaware Valley. The Warriors took over the Cougars in the last two races and hold a 19-point edge. The final day of competition resumes at 6 p.m. today.
Wyoming Valley West’s Ed Zawatski led his Spartans team to two wins in the Friday’s final three boys races. Zawatski swam at lightning speed to a 21.01-second victory in the 50 free that, according to the heat sheets, seemed to be one-hundreths of a second behind the pool record. The Times Leader records show that the Delaware Valley’s Jamie Grennan actually holds a pool record of 20.67 seconds in 2008.
Zawatski turned in a rousing performance to win the 200 free relay. The Spartans sophomore trailed Delaware Valley’s Collin Deans by nearly a half-second when he took over as the anchor. Zawatski swam his leg in 20.53 seconds to secure a 1:29.21 regional championship victory. He and his teammates Robert Jacobs, Cory Himlin and Thomas Missal owned a 78-hundreths win after trailing by a half second throughout most of the race
“Right from the get-go, Delaware Valley experience the biggest leap,” Zawatski said. “We started a half body down. I give all dues to my teammates. As soon as I made the turn after 25 yards, I saw him right next to me and I knew I had it going my way.”
Hazleton Area enjoyed a successful day in the pool with four boys wins and two girls wins.
Two Cougars swimmers earned close wins over Wyoming Valley West’s Missal. Ryan Paisley outraced Missal by three-tenths of a second with a 53.02-second win in the 100 butterfly. The Cougars’ Tyler Farley won a regional championship in the 200 IM in 2:01.56. Paisley held Missal off despite being winded after the breaststroke and relying on his less-dominant freestyle stroke.
“Well, I was really hurting after the breast. I was in a lot of pain,” Paisley said. “But I wanted to go to states.”
Jeff Hicks touched the wall first in the 200 free despite being “seriously sick” all week, according to Hazleton Area coach Michele Yakubowski. As less than 100 percent, Hicks recovered enough to handily win a regional championship in a time of 1:49.62.
“Honestly, I don’t know how he did it,” Yakubowski said. “He could barely walk after sprints. We’ve been resting him as much as possible.”
Hazleton Area swept both the boys and girls 200 medley relays. The girls team of Hailey Kendall, Katelynn Pleban, Rebecca Yannes and Shelby Sanko took Delaware Valley to the wire with a 1:53.45 victory. Paisley and Farley teamed up with Troy Valkusky and Ed Kovac to secure a trip to PIAAs with a 1:40.48 time.
Hazleton Area’s Hailey Kendall clocked in a 25.29 seconds in a 50 free race that garnered the senior’s first career individual championship and first trip to states.
With both boys and girls teams in the title hunt, Yakubowski said her teams need strong efforts from the back-end swimmers to surpass Delaware Valley and Wyoming Valley West.
“We have to get some other kids into the mix,” Yakubowski said. “We need our younger swimming to get into scoring position. We know from experience that every point matters.”