Owsiany’s excellence is evident right to the end

PHILADELPHIA — As Josh Owsiany walked toward the board at La Salle University’s Kirk Natatorium for the final dive in his storied high school career Saturday, there was no tension or angst, just a feeling of bittersweet joy that only an illustrious ending can produce.

As he had with his previous 10 dives of the day — and countless more in the preceding five seasons — the Episcopal Academy senior flawlessly executed the final entry on his program, a front two-and-a-half pike, and ambled off to his congratulations from his coaches and teammates.

Owsiany capped arguably the most accomplished high school diving career in Delaware County (and perhaps, Pennsylvania) history with his score of 596.35, a positively brobdingnagian total that is the highest ever in scholastic competition in the Commonwealth.

To put into numbers the enormity of his success, consider that the Delco record before Owsiany’s career was 512.85. Owsiany dashed that with his winning score of 573.85 last season, yet managed to trounce that again this year.

The mark sets the meet, pool and just about every other imaginable record. It also exceeds the existing PIAA marks, the higher of which was set at 557 by Class AA Trinity’s Bradley Buchter in 2014.

Even his coach, who has piloted Owsiany to five (yes, five) straight titles at one of the most competitive meets in the nation struggles to summarize the Duke signee’s ability.

“I don’t think you can,’ EA coach Tom Novak said. “He’s a super special kid, a humble athlete, extremely talented, the kind that doesn’t come along too often. I’m fortunate to be in a position as a coach, working with the Owsianys and all of the divers we’ve had the last couple of years, it’s been excellent. It’s been an amazing opportunity.’

“It was so exciting but at the same time, it’s sad to be ending my Easterns experience,’ Owisany said. “I can’t believe it’s over. It was a good run.’

“Good’ is a colossal understatement. The big obstacle in his program was his fifth dive, a reverse two-and-a-half, but the pump of a fist after he got out of the pool indicated his satisfaction with it.

Owsiany admitted he would’ve liked to get over the 600-point mark, a ludicrous benchmark given the degree-of-difficulty limitations of a one-meter springboard and the strictures of compulsory dives. But the finish was nonetheless satisfying to him.

The other half of the brother tandem, junior Andrew, produced a phenomenal score in his own right, taking third in 547.60, just three points behind Hill School’s Christian DeVol. Haverford School’s Alec Tyminski was fifth, while EA’s Gossen Yang took ninth.

About all that’s left for the introspective and perpetually-smiling Josh Owsiany in the high school realm is to try and process all that he’s accomplished.

“It hasn’t set in yet, but I’m so happy,’ he said. “I really can’t believe it. I’m very thankful for everything.’

• • •

On the topic of monumental team finishes, Becky Dohner was surprised to see her Agnes Irwin squad sitting fifth after one day. When her team held steady in that placing, she was even more shocked.

That shock gave way to elation in Agnes Irwin’s first ever top-six finish at Easterns, the Owls taking fifth.

Buoyed by stellar swims from Riley Flick (13th in the 100 freestyle), Maddie Aguirre (seventh in 100 breaststroke) and Margaux Bigelow (sixth in the 100 breast in the senior’s first final of any kind at Easterns), Agnes Irwin accumulated 174 points, well behind the leading quarter. but comfortably ahead of Baldwin in sixth.

“It’s really amazing,’ Bigelow said. “Our team has never been this good, and I’m so happy that in my last year, I get to stand up there on that podium.’

• • •

The Episcopal Academy girls and Emma Seiberlich continued their dominance. The team captured third place, led by Seiberlich winning the 100 back in 55.40 seconds. It was a hair slower than the 55.28 she produced in prelims, downing Emily Baturka’s county record.

Sarah Baturka and McKenzie Street finished second and third in the 100 breast, respectively, while Laura Zecca had a phenomenal prelims swim to capture sixth in the 100 back and some valuable points.

The EA boys also brought home a top-six cup in sixth. Ben Baturka’s fourth place in the 100 back and Waylon Jin’s fifth in the 100 breast provided the impetus.

Notre Dame took eighth in the girls competition. Saturday’s highlight for the Irish was Michaela McGeary claiming fourth in the 100 back.

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