Every breath, every kick, every stroke is heightened in the sprint races.
In other words, there is no time to waste for Wyoming Valley West’s Ed Zawatski.
Zawatski will be the star attraction at this week’s PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University in Lewisburg. The Spartan junior is the top seed in the Class 3A 50 free and will likely be a threat in the 100 free.
A total of 22 individual swimmers and four relay squads will compete at the state meet. The District 2 Class 2A boys champion Tunkhannock has the area’s best chance in the team race with five entries.
Zawatski is poised for the run against the state competition. He registered the top 50 free time and broke a district record in the 100 free despite not tapering or shaving to drastically decrease his time in both events.
“I’m not shaved, and I’m not tapered,” Zawatski said. “So I think I could make a huge impact in both the 100 and the 50. So right now, I’m feeling pretty good about my chances.”
In the 50 free, he posted a 20.8 second district finish. Zawatski carries a one-hundreth of a second difference over Bangor’s Zach Kantz. Council Rock North’s Brandon McCredie and Owen J. Roberts’ Sam Feiser each follow ten-hundreths of a second behind. Souderton’s Kevin Musterait (20.98) also falls under the 21-second mark.
Zawatski’s 100 free time may be deceptive after a wave from a nearby lane slowed him down incrementally. He is 13th with a 46.55 district record time. He’ll be looking for his first 100 free state medal after falling short by two spots a year ago. Zawatski is 58-hundreths of a second outside of the top eight.
Last season, he finished fifth in Lewisburg in the 50 free at 20.92 seconds.
Other Stories to Watch
Morgan Manglaviti, Tunkhannock: Tiger sophomore Morgan Manglaviti was a surprise silver medalist in the 200 IM and now finds herself in contention to qualify for the evening session. Manglaviti is seeded 18th with a 2:15.2 and is only 12-hundreths of a second from the top 16. She also stands 30th in the 100 back at 1:01.98.
Girls Diving: District 2 divers have a history of shining in the 2A girls event. Last season, Holy Redeemer’s Kelsey Williams claimed silver at states with a 399.35. Before that, Dallas’ Sarah Zerfoss spent three years among the state’s best divers. This year, three divers that are wet behind the ears all have a shot at making finals. Dallas’ Kiera Gross stands in 14th place with 341.8. Pittston Area’s Sierra Williams sits 18th with a 331.5. Wyoming Area’s Kiersten Lasher will have to make up on her score to make finals.
Mia Nardone, Pittston Area: Nardone looks to make the evening session at states after falling short last season. She won the 100 fly at districts with a 59.67-second finish. Nardone hovers the bubble, seeded in 16th place. A tight field could enable Nardone to leap into finals — less than a second separates her and eighth place.
Rachel Finnegan, Holy Redeemer: The Royals’ senior natator didn’t have the supporting cast around her that she enjoyed for her first three seasons; however, neither that nor injuries prevented her from two upset district championships last week. Finnegan is seeded 15th in the 100 back at 59.41 seconds and needs to cut 1.1 seconds to put her into finals consideration. Finnegan will try her hand in the 100 free, seeded 28th at 55.21 seconds. Last year, she swam to a 20th place finish in the 200 free.
Tunkhannock Relays: Fresh off its first district championship since 2007, Tunkhannock depended largely on the relays. The 200 medley team that will likely consist of Jason Linden, Joe Moffitt, Matt Miller and Stefen Sehne is seeded 11th with a 1:41.79. The Tigers are 71-hundreths of a second behind eight seed Hopewell Area in the race for a finals slot. Tunkhannock has a tougher time in the 200 free relay. Mitch Fowler, Jacob Skoronski, Linden and Sehne paved the way for a No. 23 seed at 1:33.4.
Josh Grzech, Crestwood: The Comets senior has the best chance for the area to have a multi-event finalist. Grzech is seeded sixth in 100 fly with a 51.73 second seed time. He needs to slim considerable time to catch up to Corry’s Brent Benedict (50.25) and West Mifflin’s Brad Kolesar (50.82). Grzech’s seed time puts him eighth in the 100 free with 48.14 seconds — four-tenths of a second out of the top five. Last year, he medaled at states with a seventh place showing in the 100 fly.
Joe Grzech, Crestwood: Joe Grzech needs to make up more than two seconds in the 200 free to get into the top eight. He is seeded 15th at 1:47.72. In the 100 back, he is slotted 18th with a 54.74 seed time.
Matthew Edkins, Lake-Lehman: Edkins eyes his third medal at states. Though psych sheets are largely incongruent in diving, Edkins’ District 2 Class 2A record 483.55 score puts him fourth amongst state plungers. Edkins trails Trinity (Camp Hill)’s Bradley Buchter by 49.55 points. Edkins took bronze as a sophomore and sixth as a freshman. Dallas’ Patrick Madaya and Wyoming Seminary’s Andriy Molchanov have favorable chances to make finals and receive a medal.