Marian Catholic swimmer wins gold in 500 freestyle



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    LEWISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Marian Catholic's Danny Berlitz knew he had to recover from disappointment before the second day of the delayed PIAA Class AA swimming championships on Friday.

    The sophomore had to put the fact that he was disqualified during a medal-winning 200-yard individual medley swim on Thursday out of his mind.

    But Berlitz did just fine during an exciting 500 freestyle. He swam a 4:33.66 to out-touch Kevin Kondrit of Springdale by a mere .03 for a gold medal.

    "Cry, pout, silent treatment to myself, then eat and then it was OK, it's time, let's go," Berlitz said of his response to losing his IM medal. "I'll take a gold medal for now and hopefully come back next year and get two more golds."

    Even in the 10-lap race, Berlitz and Kondrit stayed neck-and-neck throughout.

    "The last two laps were scary," Berlitz admitted.

    The only PIAA record set on Friday was in the girls' 100 breaststroke, when Bailey Bonnett of Highlands swam a 1:00.84, taking the down the mark set in 2015 by Wilmington's Lauren Barber.

    "I am excited about it, mostly because I got a best time in the event," Bonnett said. "Coming into the meet, yes it was a goal. I was pretty close to it. I knew if I tried my hardest I could try to achieve that time."

    West York senior Courtney Harnish won her second Class AA girls' Swimmer of the Meet. Harnish, who did not swim high school as a sophomore or junior, won the award as a freshman.

    She broke her own PIAA 200 freestyle record on Thursday and on Friday won the 100 backstroke in 54.03, missing that mark by a mere .23.

    "I am extremely humbled. I am just really excited to end my career at West York really good note," she said. "I hardly ever get the opportunity to swim the 100 backstroke shaved and tapered so being able to get this opportunity I had to jump right on it."

    The boys' Swimmer of the Week went to Gabe Castano of Allentown Central Catholic. Castano earned two golds, including Friday's 100 freestyle.

    "Coming into the meet my goal was to win the 50 and 100 freestyle. This is a nice extra. I am pleased to have it and thankful for it," he said. "There's no better way to end (my career)."

    Castano said he wasn't concerned with the fact that he hadn't beaten Salisbury's Mahlon Reihman prior to that race.

    "I am not thinking about that," Castano said. "I am thinking about hitting my walls, getting good underwaters, just focusing on my race and not worrying about him."

    Winter storm Stella forced the competition to be delayed a day and made all the events timed-finals, as opposed to the standard preliminaries and finals.

    Because of it, the team champions will not be made official until after the diving competition, which was delayed until March 25.

    Villa Maria Academy holds a sizeable lead in the girls' competition. Grove City leads the boys, but by only 13.5 points ahead of Cathedral Prep.
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