Depth will be the word on everyone’s tongues this weekend at the District 2 Class 2A swimming championships.
The three teams that will collect the most gold medals will in all likelihood not wind up with the district title.
The odds-on favorites, according to seed times, to win eight of the 11 district races will likely not factor in the boys swimming and diving championships. One of those schools, Crestwood, is not a school-sponsored swimming program, competing independently for the fourth straight season. The other, Scranton Prep, boasts a roster of five swimmers.
Same scenario in the women’s 2A race. Scranton Prep, featuring many of the faster natators in area history, also have a low roster and finds itself at a disadvantage in garnering multiple top 12 times.
The meet will take place today and Saturday at the Wyoming Valley CYC aquatics center in Wilkes-Barre. Competition on both days begins at 10 a.m. The top two from each race qualifies for the PIAA Championships held March 12-15 at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.
Who wins the district crown remains the burning question in both fields. Reclassification left a crowded 20 teams in the girls race and 16 teams on the boys side.
The field will be looking to end Holy Redeemer’s string of four consecutive girls district championships. Prep has a shot if no team emerges out of the woodwork. Alabama-bound Mia Nonnenberg, Katie Voitik and the Classics will look to break several records when all is said and done on Saturday afternoon.
The race will most likely come down to Abington Heights, Valley View and Tunkhannock out of the North Division. Holy Redeemer has found points from its reserves in the past but have a very young group.
Like the Royal girls, the Dallas boys have also won the past four district championships. The Mountaineers went through the WVC South Division undefeated; however, they barely made it past Abington Heights and lost to Tunkhannock by one point in interdivisional action. The Mountaineers, Comets and Tigers will be gunning for each other to see who takes home the grand prize.
Here are some interesting stories to watch for this weekend’s competition.
While not expected to take home any individual crowns, Tunkhannock will use the relay races to its advantage. Even with the loss of 2013 Swimmer of the Year Ben Spencer, the Tigers have the top seed times in the 200 medley and 200 free relays. They’ll rack points from Joe Moffitt, Matt Miller, Jason Linden and Stefen Sehne in the individual swims.
The area’s best chance for top hardware comes from a Crestwood team. WVW coach Frank Tribendis has again opened doors for the Comets to practice and compete alongside his Spartans in the regular season.
Joseph Grzech (1:50.29) is the favorite in the 200 free and will need to cut more than four seconds off his time for a record. Chris Lukasewski (21.94) has the top seed time in the 50 free and is 1.33 seconds off a district record. Josh Grzech has the best chance of taking down a record in the 100 fly; his 52.57 seconds is 59-hundreths off of a record. Josh and Lukasewski will go toe-to-toe as the top two seeds — separated by a half second — in the 100 free.
Moore for Four
Dallas’ Ezra Moore looks to become the fourth Mountaineer in a row on top of the 500 free podium. Seeking to follow in teammate Marcus Wagner’s tracks, Moore trails by a reasonable 1.98 seconds behind Prep’s Nico Lastauskas.
Champ changes colors
Reigning 100 breast champ Terry Vrabec transferred from Holy Redeemer to Division 3 Coughlin this season. Vrabec has the top seed time in the 100 breast with a 1:01.58.
Augustine and everything after
It’s been a big year for Dallas junior Kaylin Augustine, and she hopes to tap out with a trip to Lewisburg. Augustine (2:02.44) sits second behind Prep’s Katie Voitik in the 200 free. She’ll swim in an ultra fast 100 fly that features three swimmers with a chance to medal at PIAAs.
Competing in the always tough sprint races, Coughlin’s Carly Ray came oh so close — two-hundreths of a second — from making states in the 50 free. Ray has the top seed time of 25.25 seconds over the field, light years in the 50 free. She’ll be at it again in a crowded 100 free field where seven of the eight swimmers, including Holy Redeemer’s Rachel Finnegan, have a legitimate shot at making states.
Two Slices of Nardone’s
Pittston Area’s Mia Nardone seeks to grab her first district title in two hotly contested races. She sits six-hundreths of a second behind Voitik in the 100 fly. Nardone owns the top seed (1:02.84) in the 100 back by eight-hundreths of a second over Tunkhannock’s Morgan Manglaviti.
They Call It Kasmier
Some decorated swimmers will set themselves for a 100 breaststroke final heat. Tunkhannock’s Ashley Kasmierski emerges as the favorite with a 1:12.33, 79-hundreths faster than the field. Abington Heights’ Sydney Gualtieri, Prep’s Cat Donlon, Valley View’s Bailey Babarsky and Ashley’s sister Cheyanne all give Kasmierski a heavy task at winning the title.