Resweber takes down longstanding record to finish fifth

LEWISBURG — Last week, Strath Haven junior Frances Resweber and coach Dina Dormer had a frank sit down about the mental side of a meet like the PIAA Championships.

“I was like, ‘Dina, I don’t like being in the A final. I don’t like being in the last heat,” Resweber recalled. “She said, ‘Frances, we’ve got to grow up. We’ve got to start stepping up and realizing that’s where I belong.’ So I’m trying to get used to that idea.’

Those tenets seem to be well learned by Resweber, who showed Friday at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium that she may be in danger of being regarded as a strong finals swimmer.

Resweber shaved a second and a half off her prelim time, taking fifth in the Class AAA 200 freestyle. Resweber’s time of 1 minute, 51.37 seconds downed the oldest Delco record on the books, set by Marple Newtown grad and 1976 Olympian Brenda Borgh in 1977.

Part of the equation was Resweber overcoming a sizeable dose of morning-swim nerves. Last year, Resweber landed in 17th, one spot outside of the finals. Fearing a repeat of that ignominious fate, she managed to subdue the jitters and qualify sixth in 1:52.88, a spot and seven hundredths ahead of teammate Summer Martin.

In the final, freed of the morning pressure, Resweber let it rip. She covered the first 100 in 54.72 seconds, precisely a second quicker than in the morning. When she turned on the gas late in the race as is her trademark, she was in position for a high finish.

Martin was also faster than prelims, holding her seeding in seventh at 1:52.79. It’s the same placement as she notched last year in the 50 free. The pair joined Kate Lyons and Camille Jablonski to take 15th in the 200 free relay, three spots lower than where they qualified from prelims in 1:38.95.

Borgh’s record, which stood at 1:51.47, was never Resweber’s exact goal, but she’s overjoyed to have it.

“I’m just so honored to be able to do that,’ she said. “Of course it’s always in the back of your head, but I just wanted to have that good swim, get out of the 1:52s. I’ve been in the 1:52s, and I wanted to get down to those 1:51s. If the record came with it, that’s just awesome and I’m just so honored to be able to do that.’

• • •

It’s easy to see where Eli Avart got confused Friday night.

After finishing fifth in the boys 100 butterfly in 50.74 seconds, the Radnor senior had a scant 20 minutes to warm down, receive his medal, then swim the leadoff leg on the Raiders’ 200 free relay. Avart’s leadoff leg of 21.91 seconds, just .01 slower than the personal-best he set in the morning, helped Radnor claim fourth in the B final and 12th overall in a school record of 1:27.21.

That result led to Avart rejoicing in how much more time he had then when he attempted the same double at the District One meet. When he was informed that he had four fewer minutes at Bucknell than two weeks earlier, he was pleasantly surprised by the energy remaining in his legs.

“It was a great swim,’ Avart said of the relay, in which he joined Tim Caulfield, Greg Giannella and Brian McKeon. “I think it’s the whole event that helps a lot, just the adrenaline of being in a states final.’

Avart admits he “wasn’t ecstatic’ about the fly finals time, which was .17 slower than prelims.

• • •

Ivan Michalovic finished his morning swim thinking he’d missed out on finals.

By the time he’d finished finals, clocking in at 1:55.33 in the 200 individual medley, the intrigue of the morning felt far away.

The Garnet Valley senior’s time of 1:56.29 in the morning landed him 17th, the first-alternate spot. But when another swimmer declared a false start, the Seton Hall signee was elevated to the finals.

Unhappy with his morning effort, Michalovic vowed to make amends given the reprieve.

“After that race, I was feeling pretty down,’ Michalovic said in the morning. “I knew I could go faster in that race. … To get another chance to swim it tonight, maybe move up a couple of spots, I’m really happy about that.’

He changed his approach for finals, going out slower in backstroke to conserve energy. The extra gas in the tank allowed the back half of his race to be almost two seconds quicker in the evening. The swim vaulted him from the 24th seed at the beginning of the day to 13th.

“It feels so good,’ Michalovic said. “To get another opportunity to go out there tonight, to get a best time and show where I should’ve placed in the morning, it feels really good.’

• • •

Ridley’s Gab Rudy was a second faster in finals than prelims, taking 12th in the 200 IM in 2:07.10. In addition to winning the 100 butterfly, Maddie Hart led the Haverford medley relay to fourth, the team of Cassandra Reed, Emily Wolfe and Ilira Zherka clocking in at 1:45.42. Radnor’s medley relay (Sasha Smolyansky, Julia Condran, Julia Cullen, Laura Packer) was fifth in the consolation final, taking 13th overall in 1:48.09.

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