LEWISBURG — Devon Chenot was a little star struck in the first day of the PIAA Class 3A Boys Swimming Championships.
The Carlisle junior kept seeing blistering times put up in 50 free splits, particularly by Northern Allegheny’s Mason Gonzalez.
The junior had a sub-20.00 free split in NA’s gold medal-winning 200 medley relay Saturday at Bucknell University, and then blitzed the field in the 50 free later on in 19.99.
And then the icing on the cake for North Allegheny came in the night’s finale, the 200 free relay, when a Gonzalez-less quartet set a new PIAA record with a 1:20.95 as other swimmers, done for the day, surrounded the pool simply to watch.
Chenot was one of them, especially early on.
“The first one was in that medley when he went 19.3, and I was even a little shook,” Chenot said. “Then we get to the 50, and my head comes out of the water and everyone’s screaming.”
Chenot finished eighth in the 50 in a new personal best 20.86, knowing full well that grabbing gold from Gonzalez was a pipe dream.
“It’s different to be in a different position (than in districts) when you can go and place high in everything, and then you go here and it’s a completely different venue,” Chenot said.
But it was nothing to hang his head about. Chenot got the race he wanted with a new PR and a state medal. And it settled some of the nerves heading into Day 2.
His medal was the only one for the Thundering Herd on Saturday. Isaiah Bell tied for 22nd in the 50 with a 21.66, and Carlisle’s 200 free relay finished 22nd as well with a 1:28.09.
“I’m happy with it, I’m happy with how it ended up,” Chenot said. “I got a medal, so I can’t complain.”
There was a little bit of basketball chatter on the deck, too.
The Herd swam the 200 free relay alongside Emmaus, and the teams talked about the Carlisle boys basketball win over Emmaus, a 78-74 double-overtime sensation, that ended a short time before.
Chenot and company tried to stay updated a during the meet as best they could. Bell and his family are big hoops fans, Chenot said.
In the pool, though, it was all Emmaus, which finished 11th in the relay in 1:26.32 despite swimming out of Heat 1.
Deckman nabs first solo medal
Cumberland Valley also walked away with a medal Saturday, courtesy of Jacob Deckman.
The senior claimed his first individual state medal in his career in the 200 IM, using a quick opening butterfly leg to eventually finish sixth in 1:52.19. The time was nearly a second quicker than his seed time.
“Whenever I saw the time, I was a little disappointed, but whenever I saw the place, you know, you can’t really be mad about that at states,” Deckman said.
Deckman didn’t appear too happy with his breaststroke leg (the third), but was pleased with how he opened the race in the fly and back. He was second after the first 50 and fifth at the midway point.
“Sixth place is nothing to complain about, especially for it being your first medal,” he said.
The only bit of disappointment came early for the Eagles.
CV entered the 200 medley relay as the No. 4 seed, but swam a sub-par 1:35.70 — with splits slower than district times nearly across the board, Deckman said — to finish 11th.
Teammate Jack Dengler finished 27th in the 100 fly in 52.26.
For the girls
It was a quick day on the girls side, with CV's Kayla Barone and Liz Jackson in the 200 free. Jackson edged Barone from Heat 2 (of 4) with a 1:55.29 to finish 24th, with Barone 28th in 1:56.58.