LEWISBURG — Golds might have been the only thing that could’ve made the end of the careers for Jarod Anderson and Billy Webber any sweeter.
The Big Spring and Boiling Springs’ seniors, respectively, closed out stellar swimming careers Friday at the PIAA Boys Class 2A Swimming Championships with one last individual medal each: Anderson a silver in the 100 breast, and Webber a fifth-place medal in the 100 free.
“It’s starting to sink in a little bit,” Anderson said. “It’s like quicksand, kind of, but it’s like slow sand now. But I feel like on the bus ride home is really where it’s gonna kick in.”
Anderson was busy the past three seasons at Bucknell University. He claimed silver in the 200 IM and fifth in the 200 free relay Thursday, adding it to his 100 breast silver in the final day. In all he ends his varsity career with 10 state medals, including a team fourth in 2016 and five individual medals.
Webber ends his career with an impressive state haul as well. His 200 free relay fourth Thursday and Friday’s 100 free medal gives him eight total state medals, including a team fifth last year and three total individual medals.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Webber said. “With my teammates, my younger teammates, swimming with them, it’s awesome. But, yeah, it’s all over, which kind of sucks. But there’s more swimming in the future.”
For both of them. Webber heads to West Point next season to swim and Anderson will compete for the PSAC’s West Chester in the 2017-18 season.
“This weekend — really districts and states — really has gotten me excited,” Webber said. “I’ve been able to put a lot of fast times up, which is promising for the future.”
Webber’s day ended first, with Friday’s opening 100 free at Bucknell University. Nerves got the best of him early as he took a few more breaths than he prefers, leading to a slow start. But he battled back to finish fourth in Heat 4 in 46.75. Lampeter-Strasburg’s Colin Anderson jumped from Heat 3 into third.
“I’m always like a second-half swimmer,” Webber said. “I can normally come back second 50 pretty quick. … But I actually went out a lot faster today than in districts, which is good.”
Anderson got off to a similarly slow start, also plagued by those dreaded nerves. But he recovered in the second half of the race to fend off a challenge by Springdale’s Collin Hurley (58.14) out of Lane 7. The Bulldog, though, was simply no match for Wyoming Seminary’s Marcos Rico, who lead nearly wire to wire. Anderson finished in 58.08, a hair slower than his seed time and 1.08 seconds behind Rico.
“I was just trying to get out front, but I really started to get into my groove the second 50,” Anderson said. “I feel like it played out well, I’m pretty happy with the way it ended.”
Anderson’s day didn’t end there. The senior swam the event’s closing 400 free relay anchor leg, helping the Bulldogs put up a season-best 3:17.56 to climb several spots from their seed to finish 10th.
And, despite just five hours of sleep (maybe), he still wasn’t done. Anderson was heading off from Bucknell back to Big Spring High School for the Bulldogs’ Mini-Thon, an event that was scheduled to go from 7 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday, Anderson said.
“Really throughout the weekend it’s just adrenaline that keeps me going,” Anderson said.
And Webber will keep training. His club is competing in the YMCA Short Course National Championships, held at Greensboro Aquatics Center (North Carolina) April 3-7. Webber will swim the 100 free, 200 free and 100 breast, he said.