It took a national record to beat Cedar Crest’s Logan Smith at Saturday’s PIAA 3A boys swimming championships.
But at least Smith did exact some revenge on good friend and club teammate Riley Thomas of Dallastown by coming in second in the 100-yard breaststroke at Cumberland Valley High School.
Thomas inched out Smith at the District 3 meet when both swam faster than the 1994 district record time set by former Olympian Jeremy Linn. Smith got his buddy back on Saturday, dropping .46 off his seed time in a brilliant 55.42, which earned him a silver medal.
“I had to look at the board. The first thing I thought was holy crap,” Smith said with a laugh. “I felt it was a good swim for me personally.
“I improved my time at districts. But I wasn’t particularly happy with my time because I felt I could drop more. I did the best I could that day, but deep down felt I could go faster.”
Knowing he could go faster gave Smith the perfect approach to Saturday’s race.
“It was one of those things when you look at the times and know where everybody is. You’ve got to prepare yourself as much as possible,” he said. “You take into consideration what you believe other people are doing, but until you experience it with them you don’t know what they do in comparison to you.”
One thing Smith and all the others couldn’t do is compare themselves to Josh Matheney of Upper St. Clair, who dominated the field, swimming an astounding 51.84 to set a national high school record.
“It was a good experience for me and exciting for me to swim against someone as high a level as Josh Matheney. He’s insane,” said Smith. “He’s one of those one in a million kids that can go out swim in anything and put up an amazing time.”
Manheim Township has had a habit of breaking school records this season and did it once again on Saturday in the boys 200 medley relay.
Graham Calhoun, Brady Schwartz, Henry Gingrich and Connor Paladino brought in the incredible time of 1:34.54 which earned a fifth-place medal.
“It was awesome. I really thought we could drop from districts because I didn’t have a great 50 there,” said Calhoun. “It was so much fun to see all of us go best times again. We really wanted to get top eight and we were able to do that.”
Individually, Gingrich dropped time in the 100 butterfly. He pumped his fist after reading 50.19 on the scoreboard which was good for a fifth-place medal.
“I was definitely happy about that. It was a goal to be top eight, but going to states I had no expectations,” he said. “I just wanted to have fun. I was here with two seniors (Sean Cliff and Paladino) and really wanted to have fun with that.”
Paladino swam in the uber-competitive 50 freestyle and placed ninth in 21.18. The senior was also in the 100 free, where his 47.07 was good for 14th.
“It was definitely a weird year,” said Gingrich. “All these guys, we had an incredible offseason and I knew this season was going to be very good. We were ready for a good year and all the records we broke and times we dropped. We were happy to get the chance to do that. We are going to miss Connor and Sean. They are such crucial parts of Township’s success.”
Gingrich, Paladino, Calhoun ad Cliff finished 13th in the 400 free relay in 3:12.44
Ephrata senior Thomas McGillan earned two PIAA medals, a seventh-place in the 50 free with a 20.90 and eighth-place hardware with his 100 free time of 46.46.
Manheim Township’s Elizabeth Perot hoped to improve on her eighth-place finish in 2020, and had a great swim, dropping nearly three seconds off her seed time in the 3A girls 500 free. Her swim of 5:03.84 was good for ninth place, only .34 from a medal.
Solanco’s Addie Scott had a pair of swims, just missing a medal in the 200 free, but jumped two spots with her ninth place finish in 1:52.83. Scott also swam the 100 free, placing 12th in 52.09.