State College sophomore Matt Brownstead may have been the only underclassman to compete among the state’s best in the 50 freestyle — but he sure didn’t seem intimidated Wednesday in the Bucknell pool.
Brownstead finished with a silver medal in the event at the PIAA Class 3A boys’ swimming and diving championships, recording a time of 20.08 seconds — a school record and personal best. He finished second to North Allegheny senior Mason Gonzalez, who swam a 20.13 in the prelims but a 19.99 in the finals.
Among the eight swimmers in the “A” finals of the 50 free, five were seniors and two were juniors. Brownstead was the lone sophomore.
Thanks in part to his performance, the Little Lions are in sixth place as a team after Day 1. They’ll swim again starting 8 a.m. Thursday, the last day of the meet for Class 3A. The Class 2A championships start up Friday and Saturday.
Brownstead was the definite highlight for State College, but he wasn’t the lone swimmer to impress. He combined with three other teammates — Noah Witt, Foster Heasley and Mikey Challis — to a fifth-place finish in the 200 medley relay. Challis also earned a trip to the finals in the 200 IM, where he placed 15th. And Jacob Whipple was 16th in 1-meter diving.
On the girls’ side, although no swimmers earned a trip to the finals, there were still a handful who were pleased with their results. Freshman Colleen Adams recorded a lifetime best in the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 57.18 seconds.
The boys’ and girls’ teams will have a chance to set more personal bests and rack up some medals again Thursday.