LEWISBURG — Jarod Anderson may not be a fan of timed finals — he’s closer to neutral — but it hardly affected him on Day 1 of the PIAA Boys Class 2A Swimming Championships.
The Big Spring senior kicked off his final meet in style, claiming silver in the 200 IM, his first event of the championships, Thursday evening at Bucknell University. He had a little bit of help, though, as Marian Catholic sophomore Danny Berlitz, originally second after the race, was issued a disqualification afterward.
“I’m really happy about the 2 IM, but I feel bad for the kid that got disqualified,” said Anderson, who finished in 1:54.11, 1.5 seconds behind Wyomissing’s Nathan Elzer. “He’s a really nice kid and he’s really fast. But, you know, stuff happens.”
Anderson has credited a different, and more dedicated, tapering process to his postseason success this season and did so again Thursday night.
His race started out in less than satisfactory fashion, though. Anderson ended the first leg in fifth before sliding after the backstroke to sixth. But he turned on the jets over the final two legs — his signature breaststroke, where he’s a gold medal contender Friday along with Wyoming Seminary’s Marcos Rico, and the free — clawing his way back over the final 100 meters.
“Personally, I was not expecting to be that far behind going into breaststroke,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t really necessarily fully comfortable with where I was at.”
Anderson finished eighth last year in the 200 IM, and he shaved off more than four seconds over the past 12 months.
District 3 shows up in relay
The most exciting race of the night, though, likely belonged to the closing 200 free relay.
While Grove City blitzed to a new PIAA record 1:24.77, two-tenths faster than Hershey’s mark in 2009, it was District 3 that showed up big on the medal stand.
Bishop McDevitt (1:27.43), Boiling Springs (1:27.48) and Big Spring (1:28.71) went 3-4-5, with the Crusaders narrowly edging the Bubblers in the final 25 meters by .05 seconds. And all raced right alongside each other, creating an exciting race within the race.
“I was talking about this with the coach, I wish they had, instead of still individual teams, I wish they had District 3 vs. District 4, 5 and 6 and all the districts kind of team up against each other,” said Anderson, clearly proud of his creative thinking. “But it’s really cool that District 3 can represent in the relays.”
“We’re all so close, whether it’s Big Spring or McDevitt,” Bubblers senior anchor Billy Webber said. “I don’t mind it. If we’re all swimming fast, that’s fun. And then it makes it better for us when we’re doing all well.”
Webber was thrilled with his team’s performance in the relay. More than an hour after he finished 10th in the 200 free, a disappointment by his own admission, Webber anchored a unit that set multiple new PRs in their splits, he said.
“It’s kinda the same thing that happened at districts,” said Webber, who called anchoring the relay his favorite part of swimming. “I think three of us had all-time PRs in the splits, so I was happy with that.”
“It was definitely exciting.”
The final day of the Class 2A championships begins at 10:45 a.m. with the girls 100 free, where Trinity’s Sarah Wyant is the No. 11 seed.
Webber and the boys begin their final events at 3:30 p.m. with the 100 free also. Webber sits No. 3 in a tight field at the top, with six swimmers qualifying with sub-47.00 times.