LEWISBURG — During a day where medals were hard to come by, a pair of Mid-Penn Conference boys battled in the same finals event during Friday’s first day of the PIAA Class 3A swimming championships.
They’ve battled before, including two weeks ago at the District 3 Class 3A meet, where Cumberland Valley’s Logan Skiles inched out Carlisle’s Isaiah Bell by .06.
Of course on Friday, both had to deal with Matt Brownstead from Mid-Penn foe State College as well in the championship heat of the 50 free.
Although there was no catching Brownstead, who set a PIAA record with his time of 19.55, Skiles earned a fourth-place medal in 20.74 and Bell’s 21.05 was good for eighth-place hardware.
Both Bell and Skiles were happy with their performances at Bucknell University.
“It was stacked. The District 3 and Mid-Penn was very represented in that race,” Skiles said. “We were all excited. Before we raced, we were all sitting in the line, all talking to each other. We were having fun. Once you get in the A final, it’s have fun and then you do well.”
Bell, the only senior of the three, had a similar reaction, especially when pressed about Brownstead’s swim.
“Oh my God that’s insane. It was crazy,” Bell said. “I think it’s a really cool incentive swimming against people at that level. They are so good, and you are thinking this kid could eventually be in the Olympics someday and I just swam against him.”
Skiles and his Eagles teammates weren’t done there either.
Combining with Wade Turlington, Kyle Farrow and Tyler Distenfeld to swim a 1:26.50, Cumberland Valley closed the day with a seventh-place medal in the 200 free relay.
Seeded 14th entering the morning prelims, the foursome swam a 1:26.53.
“That was a shocker,” Skiles said. “I remember Kyle jumped in the warm-down pool and said we got eighth (in prelims). It was definitely special.”
Turlington had an individual swim, placing 16th in the 200 free consolations.
The model of consistency, Cumberland Valley senior Carolyn Bolden placed 14th overall in the 200 free with her time of 1:54.28, only .04 off her entry time swam in the morning prelims.
In typical Bolden fashion, she looked at the bright side of being at states.
“It can get frustrating when you don’t drop time, but it’s been a long season at this point it’s more than the times. It’s the people that I’ve met while doing the swims,” she said. “I am happy either way.”
Not only does Bolden have another swim, Saturday’s 500 free to cap her high school career before heading to Liberty University, but she was especially pleased the Eagles girls competed in Saturday’s 200 free relay.
That relay included younger sister, freshman Jennifer Bolden, Chae Stier and Lauren Chang. They placed 27th overall with a prelim swim of 1:40.54.
“I am going to focus on tomorrow and swimming fast,” Carolyn said. “It’s a fun meet. It’s awesome to have a girls’ relay here, especially with my sister on it.
“We are roommates, it’s just like when we are across the hall at home. It’s awesome. I missed my girls last year and it’s great to have them here this year.”
Distenfeld was 22nd in the boys 200 free in 1:44.86.