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District 1 swimmers medal on first day of PIAA 2A championships

Jude Blumhardt, Lower Moreland (Dennis Weller - MediaNews Group)

LEWISBURG >> Jude Blumhardt went all out in his fourth and final PIAA Class 2A championship meet Wednesday at Bucknell University’s Gerhard Fieldhouse. The Lower Moreland senior swam in four races, including the last three of the day and went home with two medals.

Another highlight of the day for District 1 competitors was the performance of Springfield Township’s Will Cross, who earned an individual and a relay team medal.

The outstanding achievement of the day from any district was that of Bedford junior Leah Shackley, who broke the state record in the 100 butterfly.

“I love swimming,” said Blumhardt, who earned a fifth-place medal in the 50 freestyle and an eighth-place medal in the 100 fly. After those back-to-back races, he swam a third event in succession in the 200 free relay. He also participated in the 200 medley relay, the first race of the day.

After that, he admitted that such a schedule might have been a bit too much to handle.

“I was way out of my ability,” he said. “I need my rest. I just finished the 200 free relay with a calf cramp all the time.”

Will Cross, Springfield-Montco (Dennis Weller – MediaNews Group)

Blumhardt was happy with his time of 21.23 in the 50 free, but not as much with his 51.86 in the 100 fly.

“I’m happy with dropping in the 50 free,” he said. “In the 100 fly, I was hoping to break the school record.”

Cross tied for fourth place in the 200 free with a time of 1:41.13. He was happy with that, considering that he came into the meet as the seventh seed and placed eighth in the morning preliminaries. Last year he finished fifth in the event.

“The competition was a lot faster today,” he said. “I felt really good. It was good after a pretty bad prelim. Coming into the final, I wanted to look at it as a new race. It was really my race. I took a breath every stroke and pushed the back half of the event, which is what I do best.”

Cross also picked up a sixth-place medal as the anchor on the 200 free team that included Sam Pugh, Ashton Odar and Gabe Fluehr. He will have a shot at another medal on Thursday in the 100 free. He finished sixth in that event last year.

Henry Phillips from Pope John Paul II finished ninth in the 200 free by virtue of winning the consolation race with a time of 1:43.27.

The top performance for District 1 girls was turned in by Mount St. Joseph’s freshman Katie Scanlon, who finished sixth in the 200 free with a time of 1:55.67.

District 1 girls who made it into the consolation races in individual events included: Sue Bin Park (Lower Moreland), 10th in the 200 individual medley; Olivia Igou (Springfield Township), 12th in the 50 free; Alyssa Bean (Archbishop Wood), ninth in the 100 fly.

Among District 1 girls relay teams, Lower Moreland was ninth, Springfield Township 10th and Mount St. Joseph’s 12th in the 200 medley and Springfield Township seventh and Mount St. Joseph’s ninth in the 200 free.

In the boys relay consolations, Lower Moreland finished ninth and Upper Moreland 12th in the 200 medley and Upper Moreland placed 12th and Lower Moreland 14th in the 200 free.

Leah Shackley, Bedford (Dennis Weller – MediaNews Group)

Shackley won gold medals in the 100 fly and 100 backstroke last season, and broke the state record in the back event in the process.

But she kept working hard since then, and that paid off on Wednesday.

“We had a plan that goes back to last year,” she said. “Just work every single day, except Sunday. We had a goal and I put in the work. We worked on my underwater and having a fast tempo with my arms on top of the water.”

Shackley swam the 100 fly in 51.93, beating the old record of 53.50 that had stood for 11 years.

“Incredible,” she said. “I know all the hard work I put in paid off.”

The Class 2A competition will conclude back at Kinney Natatorium on Thursday with the 100 free, 500 free, 100 back, 100 breast and 400 free relay events.

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