LEWISBURG – Margaret Walting finished her first career individual state meet to a chorus of cheers typically reserved for meet records and photo finishes at the state championships.
Sure, a scoreboard malfunction made it appear the Holy Redeemer freshman swam herself into the running for a gold medal with championship-caliber performance – 23.27 seconds– in the second-to-last heat.
Alas, even after the timing snafu was corrected, Walting jumped 10 spots to fourth place in the 50 free at the PIAA Class 2A Girls Swimming Championships Thursday at Bucknell University.
“I was really hoping that I would drop time and maybe a place or two,” Walting said. “But I really did not expect to do anything. It was a really exciting swim.”
Due to this week’s blizzard, the swimming championships were condensed and changed to a timed final format that allowed Walting to leapfrog from an earlier heat. Competition will resume for the final day of Class 2A action on Friday.
Walting finished with a time of 24.12 seconds in the 50 free – 35-hundredths of a second quicker than her seed time.
“To be honest, I’m trying to figure that out also,” Walting said. “I honestly think it was the nerves and the entire meet. It’s such a big and exciting meet when it comes down to it.”
She finished her first states appearances with three PIAA medals. Holy Redeemer’s 200 medley and 400 free relays both tallied eighth-place performances.
The Royals’ 200 medley team of McKenna Zeller, Walting, Corinne Smith and Emily Blaum knocked off 1.31 seconds off its personal best to finish with a time of 1:49.89. Holy Redeemer jumped five spots and earned a medal out of the second heat. Later in the evening, Walting and Blaum teamed with Kayla Kruk and Emily Easton to take eighth again with a 1:39.34.
“I think it was just teamwork,” Walting said. “We practiced (the 200 medley relay) over and over and over. We made sure we prevented every little thing we could. When it came down to it, we nailed everything we needed to.
“When you have your team by you, it’s a lot easier to put everything in the pool.”
Wyoming Seminary junior Tara Kupsky finished with a pair of PIAA medals in both of her individual races. Kupsky claimed seventh in the 200 IM, knocking nearly a second off her personal best with a 2:08.32. She jumped out to a fast start in the 100 butterfly to take eighth in 58.35 seconds.
With the first day of competition in the books, Holy Redeemer leads all Wyoming Valley Conference participants in seventh place with 59 points. Wyoming Seminary trailed in 10th in the overall standings with 47 points. Dallas sits 14th with 28.
Dallas received points from Annalise Cheshire with a ninth-place finish in the 50 free in 24.37 seconds. Abby Zolner set a new school benchmark in the 100 butterfly with her 10th place in the 100 butterfly.
PIAA Class 2A Girls Swimming Championships
Standings: 1. Villa Maria Academy 106, 2. Grove City 84, 2. Fairview 84, 4. Villa Maria 79, 5. Scranton Prep 65, 7. Holy Redeemer 59, 10. Wyoming Seminary 47, 14. Dallas 28
200 Medley Relay — 8. HR (McKenna Zeller, Margaret Walting, Corinne Smith, Emily Blaum) 1:49.89; 15. SEM (Haley Their, Madi Federici, Ava Baur, Kylee Kolbicka), 1:51.76
200 Free — 20. DAL Melissa Leonard, 1:58.62; 31.BER Sydney Lloyd, 1:59.96
200 IM — 7. SEM Tara Kupsky 2:08.32; 17. SEM April Kupsky, 2:12.88
50 Free — 4. HR Margaret Walting 24.12; 9. DAL Annalise Cheshire, 24.37
100 Butterfly — 8. SEM Tara Kupsky 58.35; 10. DAL Abby Zolner, 58.59; 11. SEM Haley Thier 58.61
200 Free Relay — 8. HR (Margaret Walting, Kayla Kruk, Emily Easton, Emily Blaum) 1:39.34; 10. SEM (Kylee Kolbicka, Ava Baur, April Kupsky, Tara Kupsky) 1:39.81; 11. DAL (Abby Zolner, Caitlin Blaum, Melissa Leonard, Annalise Cheshire) 1:40.5
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