No medals for PAC-10 in last day of PIAA-AAA meet

LEWISBURG — Things didn’t go exactly to plan for Kyle Dix and the Perkiomen Valley relay team on the final day of PIAA Class AAA Championships at Bucknell’s Kinney Natatorium.

Dix, who admittedly had been battling a stomach bug throughout the week, placed 10th in the 100 free (46.82) preliminary and went on to swim in the consolation, placing 12th overall (47.14).

The stomach bug bit Dix at the wrong time with both his prelim and consolation final time way short of his season best of 45.84.

The Vikings’ 400 free relay team didn’t make it out of the morning preliminaries, placing 17th with an overall time of 3:14.32.

“Through everything I’ve been facing this week, I’ve just been trying to go out and give my teammates everything I’ve got,’ said Dix. “We put together a really solid season together, and I’m proud to call them my teammates.’

The all-senior relay team, consisting of Dix, Bryce Groshardt, Logan Thorneloe and Michael Melissen, captured a seventh place medal on Day 1 in the 200 free relay, while Dix also won fourth in the 50 free to open up the meet.

Unfortunately for them, Day 2 was a bit more demanding.

“I was able to do well in the 50 yesterday,’ said Dix. “But anything above that, I really struggled with my energy levels after the first two laps.’

“Yesterday we got everything we had been searching for,’ said Thorneloe. “In this meet, it’s rare to get one thing that you’re searching for, so we deserve to be proud of what we did here. It was a great way to end the last four years with these guys.’

At the conclusion of his time with Perkiomen Valley, Dix totaled three medals, finishing fourth in the 50 free and seventh in the 200 free relay yesterday as well as eighth in the 50 free last season.

“Looking back, it’s been a great four seasons,’ he said. “We did a lot of good things as a team, and never lost sight of what was most important — having fun and getting better each season.’

Along with Dix, three PAC-10 girls swimmers also made it to their consolation rounds.

Phoenixville’s Maddie Cooke advanced to the consolation in the 100 breaststroke and promptly won the consolation final with a personal best 1:03.34, to place ninth overall.

“I’m really, really happy,’ Cooke said. “This morning I didn’t swim my best in the prelims, had a pretty bad swim and it pushed me down to ninth place and the consolation. So I knew I wasn’t going to medal, which is very disappointing. So I knew I had to go for time and I just gave it my all tonight because that’s really what matters. And it turned out well.’

On the first day Cooke won a bronze medal in the 50 freestyle, making for a good step up to the higher Class AAA this year. In the previous years Phoenixville had always competed in Class AA. But with the growing of the Phoenixville school district came the jump up in class.

And Cooke, only a sophomore, proved again she can, indeed, hold her own in Class AAA as well.

“I like AAA, like competing against the best,’ she said. “It’s definitely a huge difference because it’s so much faster. Last year in our 200 relay we placed second and this year we just made it to the B finals and placed 12th overall. But we did make it to the B (consolation) so we were happy with it.

“We were all pretty excited, kind of nervous coming in. But we did pretty well and we’re happy with it. The whole weekend was fun. I couldn’t haver asked for a better weekend.’

Methacton sophomore Emily Sykes also swam in the 100 breast and placed 11th overall with a personal best 1:04.25, with her time breaking a 15-year-old school record.

In her first trip to the state tournament, Boyertown senior Laura Simpson advanced to the 500 free consolation final and placed 16th with a 5:10.40.

“Every year, I kept just missing the state cut offs,’ she said following her 11th place finish in the 500 free (5:06.73) preliminary. “So it feels amazing to finally be here. I’m really happy with my time, I’ve been working to get it down all year.’

Methacton junior Gil Price swam a personal best 47.60 in the 100 free, putting him in 19th place where he missed the consolation round by just 0.36. He moved up nine seeds with the swim, as he was the No. 28 seed going into the race.

Having competed at states last season alongside his Warrior relay team, Price says it’s a completely different meet when competing in an individual event.

“It’s a lot more intense when you’re swimming out there all by yourself,’ he said. “It’s completely up to you; nobody will be able to pick your time up if you have a bad swim, so it’s pretty nerve-wracking.’

As nerve-wracking as the experience was, it was something he believes will hold value.

“It was my goal to get here in the 100 free this year, and I did that,’ he said. “It felt good to cut time and swim well. Next year will be a whole other chance to do even better, so I’m looking forward to it.’

Owen J. Roberts senior Weston Lickfeld placed 21st in the 100 breaststroke (59.58) in his first ever trip to the state championship.

“It was good to end the season with a personal best time,’ he said. “It was my overall goal last year to make it to states last year, and I fell a little bit short. So that pushed me so much harder to earn a trip here this year.’

Also in her first trip to the state championship, Owen J. Roberts’ Laurel Fink missed the cut during the morning prelim in the 500 free where she swam 5:10.81 and placed 19th overall.

“I’m happy with my swim,’ she said. “The 500 is such a tough race. It’s like sprinting 20 laps, so by the end it’s exhausting. But I love it.’

And the sophomore admits, her experience at states is like nothing she has experienced to date in her swimming career.

“It’s kind of surreal to be here,’ she said. “It’s cool to come out and swim in a bigger, faster meet. After being unbeaten during the PAC-10 season, being here is almost like an added bonus.

Spring-Ford’s Rebecca Cubbler also missed the cut in the morning preliminaries, as she swam a 5:11.49 in the 500 free, putting her in 21st place.

Although she has attended big meets before, the junior admits competing in states was nothing quite like she had experienced before.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be so loud and so big, she said. “It was definitely something I’d never experienced before. All season long, it was my goal to make it here — so just being here is something I’m really proud of.

“I’m already looking forward to next year. The biggest thing I can take away from today is to swim your own race. It doesn’t matter what the others do around you, but what you do in your lane.’

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