Seeing each other while practicing at the same pool twice a week throughout the season probably helps boost two of the state’s top 10 small-school male divers.
Familiar and friendly competition helped push Lake-Lehman junior Matt Edkins and Dallas senior Patrick Madaya to the best dual-meet performances of their high school careers Tuesday when the two local rivals met at the Dallas Middle School Natatorium that they both call home.
Edkins provided the only event victory for the Black Knights while the Mountaineers racked up a comfortable 136-44 victory in what was a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 boys swimming home meet for Lake-Lehman.
“Patrick and Matt have been friends since they were little guys,” Dallas coach Romayne Mosier said.
Among those who turned out to see the competition was Kim Kuzma, the age group diving coach for both boys when they started building toward their successful high school careers.
Edkins won the District 2 Class AA title last season and finished third in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships. Madaya finished third in the district and 10th in the state.
They have never been better in a regular-season meet.
Edkins went over 300 for the first time, with a winning score of 311.50. Madaya also had a career-best 280.30.
The Lake-Lehman junior opened a lead on the fourth of six dives, an inward 1 ½ somersaults in pike position.
“That definitely helped,” Edkins said. “That was the one I got my best scores on. And, my competition, Pat Madaya. We practice together. Competing against him is awesome. That pushed me to do my best.”
Edkins is working on building toward his next postseason run.
“I’m working on improving all the dives I have,” he said. “I’m working on some new dives.”
The meet with Dallas provided a spark midway through the season.
“The Dallas meet is probably my favorite meet,” Edkins said. “We know them. It’s more fun than competing against people we don’t really know.”
Dallas took control of the meet from the start while improving to 3-0 and building its lead in the division. Lake-Lehman dropped to 1-1 in the division.
Before the diving started, the Mountaineers already had a 49-13 lead.
Madaya also contributed by swimming a leg on the winning 200-yard freestyle relay team.
Porter Luksic led the way for Dallas by winning the maximum four events – two individually and two in relays. He took first in the 50 freestyle in 24.38 seconds to win the meet’s shortest race by more than 1.5 seconds and also won the 100 backstroke in a close race with teammate Patrick Gelso.
“Those normally are not his events,” Mosier said of Luksic. “Backstroke is one he needs to work. I like to race people in strokes that they are struggling with a little bit.”
With a comfortable advantage over the growing Lake-Lehman program, Mosier created competition by matching up competitive relay races among Dallas’ top two entries in each event rather than simply create her best possible teams in each.
Ezra Moore and Jared Krawetz each matched Porter Luksic by winning two individual events and they were each part of one winning relay as well.
Moore won the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
Krawetz won the distance freestyle events, the 200 and 500 where he normally specializes.
“I left him there,” Mosier said. “He needs to work on certain aspects of those races.
“He’s doing very well as a sophomore.”
Gelso was on two winning relays and won the 100 freestyle while also producing the close second to Porter Luksic in the backstroke.
Dominic Augustine won the 100 breaststroke.
Reid Luksic was on two winning relays while Owen Kiluk, Daniel Schnable and Troy Reinert were on one each.
Tyler Manzoni had the only second-place individual finish for Lake-Lehman and was also on the only second-place relay team for the Black Knights.
“They all know each other,” Mosier said. “Some of them are friends.
“It’s a good meet. They encourage each other. It’s a friendly rivalry; friendly competition.”