LEWISBURG — The PIAA Class 3A Swimming Championships was filled with firsts for Cumberland Valley.
It was the first time in three seasons the Eagles sent a freshman (on the boys’ side) to Bucknell University. It was the first time in six years they had sent a girls relay as well. And it was a new PR for junior Liz Jackson, in her first PIAA state championship in her first year with Cumberland Valley.
“I was very happy with the girls today,” said Eagles coach Mike Gobrecht after the conclusion to the girls championships. “They swam with confidence, and that was a big thing.”
“It was amazing,” said Jackson, the Virginia transfer. “I’m glad that I could have all of my teammates here with me. And I was so excited and so happy when they made it, because we were really counting on that relay to make it to states.”
Jackson moved with her family in July to the Keystone state and has adjusted quite well to the big-school life at CV, she said.
“I really like it a lot,” Jackson said. “It’s really big, though it’s fun.”
The Eagles, who don't have a senior on the roster, were nervous in Saturday’s opening events, and it showed. Jackson and Kayla Barone finished well short of their seed times in the 200 free. But the pair, and the Eagles 400 free relay squad, recovered with a much more satisfying second day.
Jackson’s 500 was a new PR by nearly two seconds. She knew she’d get the new mark before the race, even.
“Going into it I knew I would drop from my seed time, because at a club meet I did a 5:09,” Jackson said. “So I knew I would drop and I really wanted to get a 5:07 or better.
“It felt really good.”
“She swam that with confidence, and that’s what this meet’s about,” Gobrecht said.
Barone swam a 58.11 for 18th in the 100 back.
CV ended the season in the 400 free-relay, with a 3:34.70, nearly identical to its seed time and a good finish for what Gobrecht believes is a stepping stone for next year.
“We continue to build, and I know it’s baby steps, but for Cumberland Valley to have a relay here this year is big,” he said.
The Eagles finished tied for 39th in the team standings with eight points. Results are not final until the diving championships, which were pushed back to March 26. No locals won a medal in girls 3A over the weekend.