Pottsgrove’s Glinecke, Basch medal on final day of PIAA Class AA Championships

LEWISBURG — Sometimes one just isn’t enough.

Coming off an opening day silver finish, Pottsgrove junior Emily Glinecke won a second silver medal as runner-up in the 100 breaststroke at the PIAA Class AA Championships at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium on Thursday.

“It’s kind of hard for me to believe that I won two medals,’ she said. “I really didn’t expect to do this well, but it feels great to get second in two events. After all of the early mornings, the time we’ve spent in the pool, it feels great to have two medals to show for it.’

Also medaling alongside Glinecke was fellow Pottsgrove junior Kevin Basch, who finished eighth in the 500 free.

Glinecke swam a 1:03.04 in the 100 breast less than 24 hours after placing second in the 200 free on Wednesday.

“I’ve never dropped this much time at a meet,’ she said. “This is a meet I’ll always remember and take a lot of pride in.’

For Glinecke, a major driving force behind her has been the inspiration of her coaches and teammates all season.

“They’ve helped me get through the toughest parts,’ she said. “Both of my medals are definitely because of all of them. They’ve been pushing me to keep working hard and getting better.’

Basch, who touched at 4:46.87 in the 500 free, swam a personal-best 4:44.84 in the preliminaries.

“I swam pretty well,’ he said. “My time wasn’t exactly where I had hoped it would be, but it feels good to win a medal.’

Last year, as a sophomore, Basch took fifth place in the same event.

“I’m glad I made it here again,’ he said. “It’s always fun to compete against the best in the state. I’ve come a long way, and I know I’ll need to keep working and getting better going into my senior year.’

Upper Perkiomen’s Brandon Umstead and Kirsten Siwy both swam in respective consolation finals.

In his final high school race, Umstead swam a 53.05 in the 100 back, good enough for first place in the heat and ninth overall.

“Before I went up there, I thought to myself, ‘ This is it. After this last event, it’s all over,” he said. “I swam my best time, and I couldn’t come up with a better way to end my career.’

The senior, who was seeded at 14th, closed out his career by cutting .14 off his preliminary time and nearly two seconds off his first state qualifying time.

“I wanted to go out with a bang,’ he said. “Last year I finished 12th, and this year I really wanted to do better than that. It feels good to know that I went out and gave everything I had.’

Siwy placed 11th in the 100 free (53.38), despite entering the day as the 24th seed in the event. The junior admitted she had two goals in mind coming into Day 2.

“I wanted to be in the consolations and swim under a 54 (minute), which I did,’ she said. “It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve accomplished my goals.

“These past two days have been some of my favorite moments of my swim career.’

Courtney Sheffer saw her state run come to an end in the morning preliminaries, where she finished 25th in the 100 back with a time of 1:01.70.

Despite a rough start to her Pioneer Athletic Conference season where she struggled to string consistent times together, the Pottsgrove junior eventually went on to earn her first state bid this season. She swam a 1:01.74 at the district championships.

“I’m happy to close out my season at states,’ she said. “I dropped .04 off my qualifying time which is about what I was aiming for.’

Pottsgrove’s Michael Prior and Pottstown senior Anthony Gazzillo also didn’t make it out of their preliminary heats.

Prior swam a 55.95 in the 100 back, which put him in 19th place, while Gazzillo finished 27th in the 100 free, touching at 49.35.

Although he won’t be riding home with a medal around his neck, Prior, a sophomore, admits he will leave states with a few major lessons learned for next time around.

“There is a lot I can take away from the past couple of days,’ he said. “Not only when I’m in the water and getting ready to dive in, but also in the days leading up to it. This is the type of competition I’ll need to start getting used to as I get older and more competitive.

“This has been a great experience for me, and I think it will really help me into next season.’

As for Gazzillo, who plans to join the Navy next fall, a trip to the state tournament was what he had been searching for his entire high school swim career.

As Pottstown’s lone boys swimmer, the senior often took pride in being the sole representative of his school.

“I never pictured I could make it this far,’ he admitted. “I worked so hard the past four years just to get to states. Even though I didn’t swim my best times, I’m proud to say I swam here.’

In his first trip to states, Upper Perkiomen’s Mitch Cairns placed 31st in the 500 free prelims (5:09.17).

“My coaches told me to just aim for a low-five-minute race,’ said Cairns. “I didn’t drop time, but all-in-all it was a pretty good race.’

Although his trip to Bucknell came to an end early, he still has another chance to return to the championships.

With all of next season on the horizon, his advice to himself a year from now is to let the pressure roll off his back.

“The best swimmers across the state are competing here,’ he said. “Yes, it can be intimidating, but you have to just go out and swim your hardest. It’s you against the water, and that’s what I want to focus on next season.’

NOTES — Wilmington’s Lauren Barber won the gold in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.09), breaking a state record in the process. Had Umstead made the championships following preliminaries, his time of 53.05 would have been good for seventh place.

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