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Williamsport swimming looks to remain successful this season

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport’s Lydia Smith prepares for the PIAA Class AAA swimming meet last winter in March. Smith, a 10-time district gold medalist, graduated and leaves a hole for Williamsport to fill. But the Millionaires are looking to be as successful as last season which saw the girls win the District 2-4 Class AAA title and the boys place third at districts.

Williamsport has a new coach this season in Brett Johnson, but the expectation of success in the pool doesn’t change with a new coach. The Millionaires and Johnson are eyeing repeat success.

Last winter was a banner year for Williamsport. The girls won the District 2-4 Class AAA title and the boys took third. Williamsport’s Jack Beattie reached the finals of the PIAA diving competition and the Millionaires sent numerous swimmers to the state meet.

It was an extremely successful season and Johnson is hoping for more of the same this winter.

“I am hoping to keep everything moving forward. While retaining the entire previous coaching staff, we should be able to maintain consistency with the team dynamics allowing for more growth and improvements,” Johnson said.

Williamsport returns six swimmers who qualified for the state meet last year. Mallory Pardoe, Sydney Kelley, Amy Jarvis and Isabelle Griswold are all back on the girls side. The foursome all had experience at states last year as members of the 200 or 400 free relay teams. Pardoe also went to states in individual competition in both the 100 fly and 100 back.

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport diver Jack Beattie returns this season for the Millionaires. Beattie reached the PIAA Class AAA finals in diving and set a school record in the district finals.

On the boys side, Riley Hockman is a returning 200 medley relayist from the PIAA meet, as was Beattie. Beattie also competed in the 1-meter diving competition.

The Millionaires have a lot of experience back this season. In addition to those six outstanding swimmers who had state experience, Williamsport also returns an additional 11 swimmers who competed at the district meet in Ellie Fisher (200 medley relay, 50 free, 100 breast), Cecilia Fink (200 free, 500 free), Laila Robertson (200 IM, 100 back), Maya Trump (50 free, 100 back), Mia Jones (1-meter diving), Elizabeth Lundy 9100 fly, 100 free), Jayla Halstead (100 fly, 100 breast), Madelyn Halstead (500 free), Jaden Rankinen (200 free, 100 back, 400 free relay), Dayvon Boyd (50 free, 100 back, 400 free relay) and Ross Flerlage (100 fly, 100 free, 400 free relay).

Johnson was quick to point out Beattie, Hockman, Flerlage, Pardoe, Fisher, Hoffman, Robertson, Griswold, Garvis and Jones as swimmers who can help the team win points and events, in addition to diver Adelia Engle.

To say the Millionaires are experienced and talented would be an understatement. Williamsport has plenty of swimmers capable of winning races. One huge loss in the pool, however, is that of Lydia Smith. Smith was a 10-time district gold medalist who graduated and it leaves an enormous void both in terms of leadership and skill to fill.

“Each year you always graduate some kids that have been veterans of the program, so we inevitably take a hit there,” Johnson said. “We believe the girls are going to be fighting again for a district championship a rewriting some of the team records. While the boys are smaller in numbers, they have some good returning leadership and have picked up a couple of strong young swimmers.”

SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Central Mountain’s Madison Bair competes during a dual meet last season. Bair is a returning District 6 qualifier for the Wildcats.

The COVID-19 pandemic creates obstacles for all area schools this winter in every sport, and Johnson is already trying to adapt with his program.

“It’s forcing us to be innovative with training and how we conduct practice. We have restructured practices and made them more concise and cut out some of the inefficiencies,” Johnson said. “We are looking at using technology more to improve the experience for everyone.”

That includes the possibility of live streaming meets so parents can watch from home. Johnson noted that Williamsport will be live-updating times during meets through an app called MeetMobile so parents can at least see their kids times during competitions.

Like Williamsport, Central Mountain has a lot of district qualifiers back from last winter. The Wildcats return seven swimmers who competed at the District 6 meet, and all but two qualified in at least two events. Those swimmers bring a lot of experience back for the Wildcats.

“I want my athletes to have fun, stay positive during these difficult and challenging times, work hard every day they get a chance to be in the water and hopefully set some new PRs in the process,” Central Mountain coach Scott Bair said.

The Wildcats went 4-8 in boys competition last season and 6-6 on the girls side. The girls return Madison Bair, Hannah Brian, Morgna Brian, Autumn Garman and McKenna Fox, all of whom competed in the District 6 meet last season. On the boys side, Parker Orndorf and Leisher Gugino are back

The group of Central Mountain swimmers have been competing together for years and have known each other since they swam as 5- and 6-year-old kids. It’s a strength Bair says will be beneficial this winter.

“We have great team chemistry and a lot of swim experience,” Bair said. “Over half our team has competed and placed very high at the district tournament.”

Like Johnson, Bair knows that COVID-19 presents a unique challenge this season. The pandemic has already impacted the Wildcats, and Central Mountain won’t have any home swim meets this season.

“COVID-19 has presented many challenges already, such as a delayed start to the season, wearing masks, struggles finding a pool for practices and all of our meets will be away,” Bair said. “Our student-athletes are resilient though and will do whatever they have to do to swim.”

WILLIAMSPORT

Coach: Brett Johnson

Assistants: Sue Smith, Nate Witmer, Beverly Nuttle, Jeff Beattie (diving)

Last year: Boys (9-4, took third at District 2-4 meet), Girls (12-1, won District 2-4 title).

Returning state qualifiers: Girls, Mallory Pardoe, jr. (100 fly, 100 back, 400 free relay); Sydney Kelley, so. (200 free relay); Amy Jarvis, sr. (200 free relay, 400 free relay); Isabelle Griswold (200 free relay, 400 free relay). Boys, Riley Hockman, sr. (200 medley relay); Jack Beattie (200 medley relay, 1-mtr. diving);

Returning girls district qualifiers: Mallory Pardoe, jr. (200 medley relay, 100 fly, 100 back, 400 free relay); Ellie Fisher, jr. (200 medley relay, 50 free, 100 breast); Sydney Kelley, so. (200 medley relay, 50 free, 100 free, 200 free relay); Amy Jarvis, sr. (200 free, 500 free, 200 free relay, 400 free relay); Cecilia Fink, sr. (200 free, 500 free); Isabelle Griswold, sr. (200 IM, 100 free, 200 free relay, 400 free relay); Laila Robertson, so. (200 IM, 100 back); Maya Trump, sr. (50 free, 100 back); Mia Jones (1-mtr. diving); Elizabeth Lundy, jr. (100 fly, 100 free); Jayla Halstead, sr. (100 fly, 100 breast); Madelyn Halstead, so. (500 free).

Returning boys district qualifiers: Riley Hockman, sr. (200 medley relay, 200 IM, 200 free relay, 100 breast), Jack Beattie, sr. (200 medley relay; 1-mtr. diving, 200 free relay); Jaden Rankinen, so. (200 free, 100 back, 400 free relay); Dayvon Boyd, so. (50 free, 100 back, 400 free relay); Ross Flerlage, jr. (100 fly, 100 free, 400 free relay).

Remaining roster: Girls, Koki Musila, jr.; Adelia Engle, jr. (diving); Adelyn McDermott, jr.; Addison Bower, so.; Allyson McCann, so.; Elizabeth Ryder, so.; Nina Stroehmann, fr.; Emileah Bird, fr.; Molly Garrison, fr.; Aubrey Glosser, fr.; Charley Greevy, fr.; Ashlynn Martz, fr.; Zoey Pophal, fr. Boys, Marlowe Jacques, jr.; Brodey Persun, jr.; Carter Horning, so.; Ryan Cao, fr.; Brady Glosser, fr.; Zachary Harding, fr.; Calum Hockman, fr.; Jackson Holmes, fr.; Dominick Horning, fr.; Blaze Huntington, fr.; Jett Johnson, so.; Nathan Lundy, fr.;

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

Coach: Scott Bair

Assistants: Carol Matheney, Nolan Dale, Todd Brian

Last year: Boys (4-8), Girls (6-6).

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Returning girls district qualifiers: Madison Bair (50 free, 100 breast, 200 medley relay, 400 free relay); Hannah Brian (200 IM, 200 free relay, 500 free, 400 free relay); Morgan Brian (200 free); Autumn Garman (100 back); McKenna Fox (200 medley relay, 100 breast).

Returning boys district qualifiers: Parker Orndorf, sr. (200 medley relay, 200 free, 200 free relay, 500 free); Leisher Gugino, jr. (200 medley relay, 200 IM, 200 free relay, 100 breast).

Remaining roster: Caitlyn Dale, Maia Crowell, Eva Jones, Jocelyn Sproat, Haley Burrows, Ana Persun.

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