SILVER SPRING TWP. — Jacob Deckman will get the glory — he is Cumberland Valley’s anchor after all.
But the senior had plenty of credit to share for the Eagles’ impressive comeback victory in the 400 free relay to close out Saturday’s final portion of the District 3 Class 3A Swimming Championships at Cumberland Valley High School.
And that share belonged primarily to freshman Logan Skiles.
Deckman was handed an ideal situation despite diving in for the fourth leg trailing by a little more than half a body length with Wilson, Hempfield and Manheim Twp. the trio out ahead. And that was because of Skiles’ efforts to narrow a gap that spanned roughly two body lengths in the third leg.
“I think a body length would’ve been comfortable for me, and Logan actually did better than that and got us within half a body length,” Deckman said. “So that just gave me more confidence going into that final 100.”
From there, he did what senior anchors should do: close with a big finish. Deckman made the pass on the turn going into the final 50 meters, giving CV a gold with a 3:10.36, 1.63 seconds ahead of Wilson.
“I knew then,” Deckman said. “It was a good feeling.”
The win is one the lone senior on the relay will savor for years: it extend CV’s reign in the event and gave Deckman a rare four-peat.
“It’s up there, it’s definitely up there,” said Deckman, who swam with a trio that included two freshman (Skiles and Kyle Farrow) and junior Jack Dengler. “Not many people can say that they’ve been undefeated in the 400 free relay, especially going through the different people that have been on it with you and just to be that consistent, it’s pretty great.”
It was even more impressive considering Deckman hasn’t begun to taper yet, a different strategy from years past for the Eagle.
Deckman left the two-day championships with four podium appearances — picking up a 200 medley relay gold and silvers in the 200 IM and 100 free. His only regret was not getting an individual gold.
The Eagles wound up tied for fourth with Hempfield (184 points). Dengler, who was also on both winning relay teams, snagged a fifth in the 100 fly Friday and fourth in the 100 back (52.59) Saturday.
Chenot shakes nerves, tops Deckman
Carlisle’s Devon Chenot stole one of those individual golds that Deckman was searching for, right from his grasp.
Chenot snagged the boys 3A 100 free with a 45.97, just .6 ahead of his CV rival. The Thundering Herd junior, who swam out of Lane 2, mounted a strong comeback in the final 50 to secure the win.
“I felt really good when it was done,” Chenot said shortly after stepping off the podium, stifling a sigh of relief. “I was shaking up there, because I knew Jake — we’ve been racing since we were 12 or 13 years old, so I know what he can do.”
The weekend was one milestone after another for Chenot, who will be back in the PIAA Class 3A championships at Bucknell University in two weeks. He claimed a pair of golds at Cumberland Valley, including the 50 free Friday. And he tacked on a silver in Carlisle’s 200 free relay effort.
Chenot spent the offseason building his endurance for the 100. He was already a top sprinter, but was trying to add to his pure speed. The extra work paid off, with the end result exceeding even his expectations.
“I never envisioned that I would be at doing a 45 at the end of this season,” Chenot said. “The goal was to get back to states after freshman year. So I feel like getting back now is passed what I expected.”
The Herd finished eighth as a team with 128 points, one short of No. 7 Manheim Twp. They added a sixth-place finish in the 400 free relay, Chenot’s fourth medal of the weekend. Isaiah Bell’s seventh-place finish in the 100 free (47.40) put four area swimmers on the podium, with CV’s Skiles jumping from the third heat (of four) to claim bronze.
Barone picks up four medals
Cumberland Valley’s Kayla Barone capped off her District 3 performance with two more medals Saturday.
Barone won bronze in the 100 back with a 57.32, more than two seconds behind champion Cameron Gring (Muhlenberg).
She followed that up shortly after with a strong anchor leg to help the Eagles erase a hole that had them in sixth at the midway point to finish fourth in the 400 free relay. CV finished in 3:34.69, more than a second off third.
Barone added the hardware to the two podium finishes she got in Friday’s opening events. She won silver in the 200 free and helped the 200 medley relay squad to a sixth-place finish.
“I was trying to get gold,” Barone said of her goals before the season. “But just that I placed and made states was really, really good.”
The Eagles finished fifth in team standings with 158 points. Liz Jackson nabbed an eighth-place medal in the 500 free (5:11.03), the only other Eagle to win an individual medal Saturday.