High School Sports

Penns Valley’s Sophie Gerhart medals twice in PIAA Class 2A swimming championships

Penns Valley’s Sophie Gerhart, seen here during districts, placed fourth in the 200 IM and third in the 100 butterfly Wednesday on Day 1 of the PIAA Class 2A Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell.
Penns Valley’s Sophie Gerhart, seen here during districts, placed fourth in the 200 IM and third in the 100 butterfly Wednesday on Day 1 of the PIAA Class 2A Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell. adrey@centredaily.com

Penns Valley’s Sophie Gerhart knew swimming in events 20 minutes apart wasn’t going to be easy — but she was pleased with Wednesday’s result.

The junior finished fourth in the 200 individual medley during the PIAA Class 2A Girls’ Swimming and Diving Championships and then, three events later, tied for third in the 100 butterfly. She finished with times of 2:08.69 and 57.14, respectively, both improvements over her prelim times.

“It just feels really great because last year I got 20th on the 100 fly,” Gerhart said Wednesday night. “So it just feels great to be on the right track and to keep getting faster.”

Gerhart said she was well-aware of the quick turnaround after her fourth-place finish. She focused on warming down, then tried to calm herself before jumping into the pool once more.

That mindset — and her in-season conditioning — paid dividends at states, as she’ll be returning home from the Bucknell pool with two medals.

“That’s no easy task,” said her assistant coach and father, Matt Gerhart, referring to the 20-minute break. “So hats off to her coaches for getting her conditioning like that to be able to do that, and hats off to her just performing in that second event the way she did.”

Sophie Gerhart was the county’s lone medalist on Day 1 of the four-day event. But several others took part.

Bellefonte’s Zoey Cole finished 19th in the 200 freestyle in 1:58.72, and the Lady Rams’ 200 medley relay team — comprising Anna Butler, Audrey Duck, Sophie Gerhart and Abigail Gerhart — came in 28th in 1:58.72.

On the boys’ end, sophomore Reece Bloom from St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy came in 31st in the 200 freestyle in 1:51.92. And Bellefonte’s Harrison Horner finished 31st in the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.56.

Class 2A will finish its season Thursday, while Class 3A — and the State College boys and girls — will swim and dive Friday and Saturday.

Sophie Gerhart doesn’t have any races left Thursday, so her season is over. But it proved to be a successful one. She came into states hoping to place in two races, and she’s taking home a bronze and fourth-place medal.

“It’s just great to take them home at my school and show them what I did and how hard I’ve been working,” she added.

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