LEWISBURG >> For Pennridge’s Morgan Scott, the 200-yard freestyle has proven to be a challenge worth taking.
“The first time I did it, I was like ‘I’m never swimming that again,’” she recalls with a laugh. “Now I’m swimming it for a third time at states so I’m sort of liking it more. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“The 200 free — it’s definitely a hard race,” she said down on the deck of Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium. “But you kind of learn how to swim it. You train all year for it. You learn how to pace yourself in it and it just goes from there.”
There’s nobody better at it in the entire state, as Scott defended her PIAA title in stellar fashion Saturday evening, racing to a winning time of 1 minute, 46.77 seconds to capture her second consecutive gold medal in the event.
“I was thrilled,” the junior said. “I’ve been wanting to go 1:46 for a while. So getting that race for me definitely boosts my confidence.”
Scott dropped more than two seconds off her state time of a year ago, coming within shouting distance of the state record.
She outraced Garnet Valley’s Madison Kolessar (silver, 1:49.62) and Upper Dublin’s Abbie Amdor (bronze, 1:49.64) in an impressive top three, with locals Carly Zlotnikoff (Wissahickon, 12th) and Elle Braun (Upper Dublin, 15th) also earning points in the event.
Due to the snow storm earlier in the week, both the Class AA and AAA competitions were pushed back a day, with all swims timed finals. Scott pulled through, also joining Erin Shema, Reese Trauger and Anna Beno later in the evening to place 10th in the 200 free relay.
With her solid gold 200, Scott — who grew up a sprinter — notched her ninth state medal.
“I wasn’t expecting the nerves actually,” she said. “I was so nervous, I don’t know why. Maybe because it was different this year — it’s a one-time shot. You’re expecting to do prelim swims, kind of see the field and how it is.
“And this year you only have one chance,” she said. “But I’m glad it’s over because my nerves have gone away.”
In addition to Amdor and Braun’s production in the 200, Upper Dublin also had a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay (Jenna Johns, Aly Breslin, Rebecca Pendleton, Amdor), a fifth-place finish from Johns in the 100 butterfly and a fourth-place finish from the 200 free relay (Breslin, Braun, Rebecca Pendleton, Laura Pendleton). The Cardinals surged to second in the team scoring after Day One with 94 points, trailing only Avon Grove (121). Defending champion North Penn is in sixth with 74 points, with Souderton in 12th and Pennridge 13th.
The Knights met some misfortune in the final event of the night with a DQ in the 200 free relay, but did get medal swims from their 200 medley team (Katelyn Harkrader, Kailyn Evans, Megan Zartman, Rosalinda Rivera), Evans (fifth) and Thamm (8th) in the 200 IM, Thamm again in the 100 fly (sixth), and additional points from Megan Zartman in the 200 IM (11th).
Evans raced to her second consecutive state medal in the IM but was hoping for more. She’s looking forward to her 100 breast.
“No pressure at all,” the senior said. “I feel like I can go out there and attack it.”
And the champs are still in the hunt.
“We’re slowly climbing up there,” Evans said. “We’re gonna hope that diving (next Sunday) gives us some help as well.”
Also locally, Souderton Area’s 200 medley relay (Hailey Freed, Emily Hodges, Jenny Rogers, K.K. Hershey) had a tremendous race, going in as the No. 12 seed and placing sixth in 1:45.13. Big Red’s 200 free relay (Hodges, Freed, Hershey, Rogers) finished 12th, going 1:36.99.
Methacton’s Emily Sykes shaved more than two seconds off her seed time, racing to fourth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:01.48.