Some swimmers were already on the Bucknell University campus, while others were in transit when the word came down the Class AA portion of the 2020 PIAA Swimming Championships was going to be shut down because of concerns with the coronavirus.
Many of those same swimmers make a return to the Class AA state meet today when the competition gets underway at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg.
The meet will run a similar schedule to the WPIAL Championships with two heats in each individual event and four heats in the three relays.
The girls meet begins at 10:45 a.m. with the 200 medley relay and closes with the 400 freestyle relay around 2:30 p.m.
The boys meet starts with the 200 medley relay at 5:30 p.m. and the long day of swimming ends with the 400 freestyle relay around 9 p.m.
Both the girls and boys competitions will be broadcast live on PCN TV.
Mapletown’s Ella Menear won two gold medals at the WPIAL Championships and those times have the sophomore the top-seeded swimmer in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. Menear is the only girl to crack 2:05 (2:04.54) in the 200 IM and 55 seconds (54.58) in the 100 backstroke entering the state meet.
The Laurel Highlands girls have a strong contingent with its 200 medley relay (1:50.65), Maria Mrosko (200 IM, 2:10.44; 100 butterfly, 58.59), Elizabeth Thomas (100 backstroke, 58.27), and its 400 freestyle relay (3:44.86) all securing a lane.
The Mount Pleasant girls qualified the 200 medley relay (1:49.13), 200 freestyle relay (1:39.76), Reegan Brown (100 backstroke, 59.31), and SaraJo Gardner (100 backstroke, 58.99).
Elizabeth Forward’s Natalie Glessner (200 freestyle, 1:56.72; 500 freestyle, 5:12.51) and Hailey Yurkovich (500 freestyle, 5:10.01) seek a berth onto the medals stand.
California sophomore Anastasia Georgagis swims in the second heat of the 100 breaststroke with a seed time of 1:06.60.
In the boys meet, Belle Vernon’s Ian Shahan is top seeded in both the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, although the senior gained entry into the speed event with an at-large bid after tying Neshannock’s Conner McBeth in the WPIAL final.
Shahan, McBeth, and New Hope-Solebury’s John Devaney (20.98) are the only swimmers in the 50 freestyle with a qualifying time under 21 seconds. Shahan’s time of 49.62 seconds in the 100 butterfly is the only qualifying time under 50 seconds.
Southmoreland’s Henry Miller has the fastest qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke with his WPIAL gold medal-winning time of 57.13 seconds. Big Spring’s Matthew Raudabaugh also cracked 58 seconds (57.66) and will swim alongside Miller in the second heat.
Miller also qualified in the 100 butterfly.
Laurel Highlands’ Ian Hamilton (200 freestyle, 1:45.68), Kole Friel (200 IM, 1:58.28; 500 freestyle, 4:49.64), and 200 freestyle relay (1:31.65) are in the mix for a state medal.
The Leopards’ Sam West (200 freestyle, 1:47.67; 100 freestyle, 48.15), 200 freestyle relay (1:29.73), and 400 freestyle relay (3:16.59) will also be swimming in the state meet.