Bellefonte’s 200-yard medley relay team entered the pool Wednesday at Bucknell University among the favorites and emerged from the water with PIAA gold.
Colton Schnars, Andrew Rosenberger, Isaac Thomas and Frank Aberegg smashed the school record in capturing the first gold medal in school history in the PIAA Class AA Swimming & Diving Championships inside the Kinney Natatorium.
“They came into today knowing what they wanted to do,” Bellefonte coach Lisa Newman said. “They wanted to win it from Day 1. Honestly, they had it all in them. They just had to do it.”
It wasn’t the Red Raiders’ only trip to the podium on the opening day of the event. Rosenberger added a silver in the 200 individual medley and Katie Scordato took seventh in the 200 IM on a banner day at the PIAAs.
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The boys’ team is second in the team race, amassing 79 points. The Red Raiders trail leader Franklin by seven points.
The Red Raiders saved their best for the final in the 200 medley relay. In the preliminaries, the quartet qualified second, swimming a blazing 1:38.64, that was .38 seconds faster than their qualifing time which was a meet record in the District 6 Championships.
They would better that time by nearly two seconds in the final, rallying from an early deficit. Schnars swam the opening backstroke leg in 25.55 and was followed into the pool by Rosenberger, who swam the breaststroke leg in 26.38. Thomas followed with a 23.49 leg in the butterfly.
Still the Red Raiders trailed as Aberegg hit the water on the final freestyle leg. The senior blazed home in 21.42 to make school history.
Bellefonte finished in 1:36.84, shattering the school mark. The Red Raiders topped Fairview, the top seed, by .6 seconds.
Aberegg’s final leg was 1.45 seconds faster than Fairview’s final swimmer and was the fastest freestyle leg of anyone in the event by .37 seconds.
“He just brought it home for us,” Newman said of Aberegg. “It was huge.”
Rosenberger had little time before jumping back into the pool for the 200 individual medley. He qualified third in the preliminaries. His time of 1:58.26, was a whopping .87 seconds faster than his District 6 record swim.
That was nothing compared to his silver-medal effort. The senior turned in splits of 25.54 in the backstroke, 30.52 in the breaststroke, 32.21 in the butterfly and 27.17 in the freestyle as he finished in 1:55.14, a whopping three seconds faster than his preliminary swim. Lancaster Catholic’s Everett Albert won the event in 1:53.72.
“He looked so strong throughout,” Newman said of Rosenberger, who broke a school mark. “His strong point is the breaststroke. It really was that part of the IM that he started cranking it up.”
Scordato placed sixth in the prelimaries of the 200 individual medley to qualify for the finals. Her time of 2:10.57, bettered the 2:11.75 record that she swam in winning the District 6 title.
Scordato picked it up in the finals, swimming 2:10.23 in the finals. Allie Szekely won the event with a time of 1:59.665.
In other boys’ events,Thomas narrowly missed qualifying for the 200 freestyle finals, finishing ninth in the preliminaries. His time of 1:45.47 was .4 seconds off the eighth-place time. His time was also 1.3 second faster than his District 6 title time.
In the consolation finals, Thomas went on to finish 13th in 1:46.71.
Aberegg earned the final spot in the consolation finals for the highly competitive 50 freestyle. Aberegg’s time of 22.36 seconds was 1.46 seconds behind the top qualifying time for the finals. Aberegg improved in the consolation finals, swimming a 22.22 to finish 13th.
Schnars placed 24th in the 200 IM, with a time of 2:03.97.
Bellefonte’s Matt Horner, Jordan Newman, Schnars and Aberegg also narrowly missed qualifying for the finals in the 200 freestyle relay. The Red Raiders’ time of 1:30.83 was .56 seconds off the final qualifying time.
The quartet went on to place 10th in the consolation finals.
Newman said the boys’ squad could bring home a team crown.
“The boys are in an excellent spot to improve from here,” Newman said. “(Thursday) is a very strong day for us. ... We just have everybody in every single event. I expect really big things going into the rest of the meet. Hopefully, we’ll see a really high team score tomorrow.”
In girls’ competition, Gwen Lowery was 30th in the 100 butterfly. Her time of 1:02.22, was .78 seconds faster than her best time of the season.
In the 200 medley relay, Bellefonte’s Cydnei Crust, Scordato, Miranda Fedor and Lowery placed 21st with a time of 1:55.74.
Behind Scordato’s 12 points, Bellefonte is 27th in the team race.
Swimming continues Thursday, starting with preliminary events at 8 a.m..
State College will participate in the Class AAA meet, which begins Friday at 8 a.m.