It started with a lofty goal set a year ago during Adam Mahler’s sophomore season — a state championship. It culminated with one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory of any Wyoming Valley Conference swimmer.
In a whirlwind two weeks that spanned championship season, the Holy Redeemer junior’s accolades were outstanding: one state championship, two state medals, two district records, three district titles.
The long list of accomplishments was more than enough to solidify Mahler for one more honor. The Times Leader named Mahler its Boys Swimmer of the Year for 2018.
Already, Mahler has his goals in mind for his senior season.
“For next year, I definitely want to be a state champion,” he said. “But, for me it’s more of the time than the actual place.”
The Nuangola native won the 100 butterfly at the PIAA Class 2A Championships to become the first Holy Redeemer boys swimmer to win a state title. He cracked the 50-second plateau to touch the wall in 49.96 to beat the field by 74-hundredths of a second.
“I wasn’t really sure I was going to win it,” Mahler said. “I was with (Belle Vernon’s Ian Shahan) for most of the way. On the last lap, I figured I had him. My swim on top of the water was outpacing him, and I knew I had it.”
He came in fifth place in the state in the 200 free. Mahler finished in 1:43 flat after coming from the back of the field to touch in the middle of the pack. He dropped three seconds off of his seed time.
Mahler will participate at the YMCA Nationals and junior nationals this summer in South Carolina. He prefers swimming meters to yards because it allows himself to pace himself differently.
At districts, Mahler twice put his named into the record books. He opened the first day of competition by tying a district 200 free record, matching a 33-year old record set by former Bishop Hoban standout Sean McCall. He outraced McCall’s son, in the next lane, with a time of 1:46.06.
“It was pretty funny, actually,” Mahler said. “I had an idea of what the record is. The 200 free was exhilarating. The whole time I was thinking, ‘If I make it, I make it. If I miss it, I miss it.’ ”
An hour later, there was hardly any chance of missing the opportunity to take down his own record. Mahler set a new milestone of 50.49 seconds while outpacing the entire field by more than three whole seconds in the 100 yard butterfly race.
Mahler said that one of the highlights of the season was seeing coach Jack Port’s reaction to his gold medal swim at the PIAA championship race in Lewisburg.
“I felt pretty good,” Mahler added. “He put as much time and effort into making me into what I am today. Seeing him after the finish was one of the best moments of the season.”
He teamed up with Mike Williams, Matt Dinh and Colton Smith to help the Royals win the 200 free relay at the district meet.
Mahler is the son of Rose and Eric. His sister Emily is a freshman on the Royals’ swimming and diving team.
TIMES LEADER BOYS SWIMMING
FIRST TEAM ALL-STARS
Sr. – Diving
Making his third straight all-star appearance, Aitken earned his first district diving title. He scored a 415.8 to finish on top of the podium. At states, Aitken captured a state medal by earning seventh place with 350 points.
Sr. – Sprints
Bushre won his first individual district title with a first-place performance in the 100 free in 49.09 seconds. He placed second in the 50 free and medley relay at the district meet. At states, he knocked off nearly a half-second in the 50 free to take 11th place in 21.69 seconds.
Sr. – Distance/Fly
Caravaggio completed his high school career with a state medal in the 400 free relay. He was the second leg of a Dallas relay that came in sixth at PIAAs with a 3:18.4. For his own part, Caravaggio came in third at districts in the 500 free (5:11.71) and fifth in the 100 fly (56.67). He was the anchor for a medley relay that came in 12th at states.
Jr. – Breaststroke
Flowers is poised to be one of the top returning swimmers next season after winning a pair of regional gold medals. He touched the wall first in the 200 IM in 1:57.8 and 100 breast in 1:00.78. Flowers placed 30th in both events at states.
Fr. – Distance/Back
As the lone freshman on the Times Leader all-star team, Goulstone won the 500 free at the Class 3A regional. He registered a 4:55.53 for the gold medal. At PIAAs, he was 32nd place in the event.
Wyoming Valley West
Sr. – Fly/Free
The heart and soul of the Spartans, Kowalski won a regional championship in an event that he just picked up in the latter portion of the season. Kowalski won the 100 butterfly in 54.75 seconds. He claimed second in the 200 medley and 200 free relays, in addition to a third place showing in the 500 free.
Sr. – Medley/Back
Krochta was lights out in March with three district championships. He won the 100 back in 53.86 seconds and the 200 IM in 1:59.27. Krochta was a part of a first-place 400 free relay. He earned a PIAA medal in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:18.4. The Mountaineer senior placed 12th and 14th in the 100 back and 200 IM, respectively, at states.
Sr. – Free/Breast
Spears won a state medal by helping the Mountaineers to a sixth-place performance in the 400 free relay. Individually, he won the 100 breast at districts in 1:01.64. Spears also came through with a 400 free championship in the Class 2A district meet.
So. – Distance
Szczecinski enjoyed a breakout season in his sophomore campaign. He was the top swimmer in the 500 free in five minutes flat and dropped more than six seconds to take 16th at states. Szczecinski helped the Mountaineers win a district gold medal and sixth-place state medal in the 400 free relay. He placed second in the 200 free in 1:46.7.
So. – Free/Back
Tidball was instrumental in the Tigers’ Wyoming Valley Conference title season. At districts, he placed second in the 100 free (49.57) and third in the 100 back (56.73). Tidball and the Tigers came short of a state medal, but placed 10th in the 200 medley relay.
Wyoming Valley West
Sr. – Back
Volynets earned a gold medal in the 100 back at Class 3A regionals. At states, he dropped two seconds off the clock at 55.89 seconds. Volynets helped the Spartans take second at regionals in the medley and 200 free relays.
Sr. – Medley/Back
Wasik fell to Krochta by fractions of a second in both the 100 back and 200 IM, earning silver medals with times of 54.25 and 1:59.92, respectively. Wasik qualified for semifinals in both events at the PIAA championships.
Wyoming Valley West
Sr. – Sprints
Valley West’s long-running dominance in the sprints continued with Zawatski’s final regional performance. He swept both the 50 and 100 free for the second straight season. Zawatski came in first in the 50 free in 21.8 seconds and topped the field in the 100 free in 47.2 seconds. Zawatski dropped 34-hundredths off 50 free at states to earn 16th place.
Coach of the Year
Mislevy led the Tigers to a Wyoming Valley Conference championship this season. Tunkhannock edged Dallas 92-91 on the last meet of the season to secure the title. He oversaw a pair of district champions in Alex Bushre and Sawyer Aitken. Tunkhannock’s medley relay placed 10th at states.
Christopher Cabolinas, Nanticoke
Bobby de Luna, Wyoming Seminary
Dyllan Henning, Tunkhannock
Dylan Mislevy, Tunkhannock
Rodriko Salas-Warner, Wyoming Seminary
Hunter Whytashek, Tunkhannock
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