Last updated: February 16. 2013 12:30AM - 160 Views

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LEWISBURG — Northeastern Pennsylvania swimmers didn't just go diving for buried treasure.

They bobbed and swam backwards and burst through the water, all the time eyeing their precious prize.

By the time they were done, Lake-Lehman boys diver Matthew Edkins, the Dallas boys 400 freestyle relay team and Scranton Prep's Mia Nonneneberg all found precious state medals Saturday in the PIAA Class 2A Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium on Saturday.

And before Elk Lake's Adam Phillips picked up a piece of silver, Scranton Prep's Rebekah Campo found gold.

"District 2, great showing this state race," exclaimed Dallas coach Romayne Mosier, after watching her Mountaineers team of Jake Chielli, Marcus Wagner, Jack Matusiak and Brian Stepniak earn a sixth-place state relay medal for the second straight night -- this time in the boys 400 freestyle. "We're leaving our mark here."

"I'm really happy with how I did," said Edkins, who finished sixth in boys diving with 373.35 points. "I was really shooting to make the top six. That's what I did."

Campo was aiming even higher.

In her final high school race, the decorated Prep swimmer went gunning for gold -- and found it by winning the girls 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.84.

"I'm very, very happy," said Campo, a senior who staved off Wilmington's Lauren Barber by nearly eight-tenths of a second to emerge victorious. "I couldn't have imagined a more perfect race. Everything was spot-on."

That flawless performance in the championship heat gave Campo her second state gold, but first individual championship. She was part of Scranton Prep's state champion girls 200 freestyle relay team two years ago.

"The gold medal's just icing on the cake," said Campo, who came in seeded first, and remained in that spot through Saturday morning preliminaries and then through the state finals. "This is my senior year, and a pretty great one at that. I gave it everything I had in my last state swim.

"I just wanted to finish great."

Not everyone from around the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area had such a great time.

Holy Redeemer sophomore Michael Pahler finished a respectable 10th in boys diving with 322.35 points in just his second year of diving and in his first trip to states. But he missed eighth place and the medal stand by little more than 24 points.

"I would have really liked to get a medal," Pahler said.

And he can pinpoint what prevented it.

"I really wished I'd hit my inward double (somersault)," Pahler said. "My knees buckled on it. If I hit that and my reverse twists, I felt I could have gotten a medal. (But) 10th is a big step for the first year at states."

Edkins took a big leap in the same event.

The Lake-Lehman freshman used consistency as his key to a sixth-place finish, accumulated on the strength of 373.35 points.

"Such a big meet," Edkins said. "I was definitely nervous to start out. I just wanted to come in and do my best and make my first one the best one."

Using attempts that continually decreased in degree of difficulty, Edkins relied on steady execution instead of the more spectacular attempts in his arsenal to make it to the medal ceremonies.

"We were shooting for the consistency," Lake-Lehman coach Erin Yurk said, "and he was able to perform that with all his dives. I think he did really well, especially not having experienced this type of meet and setting before. I'm excited for him."

The excitement for Northeastern Pennsylvania competitors was just beginning, though.

The Prep girls got a push in the state points standings when Nonneneberg pulled a bronze medal out of the girls 500-yard freestyle with time of 4:57.63, before Campo captured state gold.

In between, Holy Redeemer's Julie Ann Mahle made a surprise run into the consolation race of the girls 100-yard backstroke.

The junior entered preliminaries as the 26th seed off her District 2 championship time of 1:02.23, but whittled that down drastically at states.

"I had a bad district race. Kind of gave me more motivation," Mahle said.

With extra effort, Mahle shaved away more than two seconds in her morning swim to make the 100 backstroke consolation race -- where she finished sixth in the event and 14th in the state with a time of 1:00.89.

"I just wanted to lower my time and show what I could do," Mahle, a junior, said. "I didn't go as fast as I wanted (in consolations). But it's hard swimming twice a day sometimes.

"Overall, I'm happy."

In the end, Phillips and the Dallas boys 400 freestyle relay team were ecstatic.

Phillips took home a silver medal in the boys 100-yard breaststroke, finishing in 58.04 and a half-tenth of a second off the winning pace.

Then it was time for Dallas to put a stamp on District 2's success.

Chielli, Wagner, Matusiak and Stepniak had already come from a 13th seed Friday to capture sixth place in the boys 200 freestyle relay. But accomplishing that same feat twice felt twice as nice.

"It feels great," said Chielli, the only senior on Dallas' state medalist relay teams. "I couldn't have asked for anything more. It was great to be able to end my last high school meet on a good note."

It finished District 2's success with an exclamation.

In the night's final event, that Dallas 400 relay team -- also seeded 13th coming in -- swam to sixth place in the championship race with a time of 3:18.43.

"(Seeded) 13th and finishing sixth twice, both relays, it's awesome," Mosier said. "They wanted it. They went after it."

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