Erin Merkle decided to do something different at this year's York-Adams League Swimming Championships.
The two-day meet is set for Friday and Saturday at the Central York High School Natatorium.
The York Suburban star will swim the 500-yard freestyle, an event she won last year. However, instead of competing in the 200 freestyle, which she finished second in a year ago, Merkle is entered in the 100 butterfly.
"I enjoy mixing it up and trying all the different events," she said on Wednesday afternoon before practice. "The butterfly's always been one of my favorite events. It was a hard decision (deciding which two individual events to enter), but I think I made a good decision."
Merkle is a strong favorite in the 500 freestyle. Her time of 5 minutes, 9.33 seconds, is more than 19 seconds better than the second-seeded swimmer.
Merkle is also seeded first in the butterfly with a performance of :59.24. She'll be competing against a very strong field that includes defending champion Aniella Janosky of Dover.
"To me, personally, seeds don't mean anything because anything can happen in a race," Merkle said. "I just try to focus on my race and do my best."
Merkle's focus has been extremely sharp this season. Her times in the 500 free and 100 butterfly are school records. She broke her own mark in the butterfly that she set last year at the state meet and took down a 35-yard-old mark in the 500 free.
"It was a great feeling (setting the records)," she said. "The people who held the marks before me were great swimmers so it was an amazing accomplishment."
Merkle credits her time drops this year to "a lot of training" and the support of her teammates.
"It can be hard day in and day out doing the same sort of thing, but my teammates make it (practice) a blast," she said.
Merkle is looking forward to competing at Central.
"It's a gorgeous facility and a really fast pool," she said. "We're all really, really excited. This is the first step in the postseason (with districts and states to follow)."
Other girls' standouts: The girls' portion of the York-Adams Meet will feature a talented cast.
Red Lion's Morgan Pfaff, who set meet records two years ago in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, is seeded first in both events.
Dover's Janosky returns after winning gold last year in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle, and Dallastown's outstanding sophomore, Alyssa Bixler, will make her York-Adams meet debut. Bixler, who swam exclusively for a club team last year, holds the top seeds in the 100 and 200 freestyles.
Dover is the No. 1 seed in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay. Red Lion owns the fastest time in the 400 freestyle relay.
Two Dover swimmers, Mia Becker and Bree Link, enter with the fastest times in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, respectively.
Dover's Nicole Smith and Red Lion's Julianna Fritzinger, the winners of the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke last season, are competing in those events this year.
Boys' meet: On the guys' side, Dallastown's unbeaten powerhouse dominates the roll of top times. Wildcats' swimmers are seeded No. 1 in 10 of the 11 events, including all three relays.
The exception is the 100 butterfly, where West York's Brad Strathmeyer is seeded first. The Bulldogs' senior is the defending champion. in the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle.
Dallastown's super sophomore, Trevor Hine, is seeded No. 1 in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle. Hine, a club swimmer last year, joined the high school team this year.
The other Wildcats holding top seeds are; Michael Godboldte (200 freestyle), John Hudish (50 freestyle), Corey Stauffer (100 freestyle), Mason Tate (100 backstroke) and Jake Dunnigan (100 breaststroke).
Stauffer won the 200 freestyle in 2011, Dallastown's Steven Paine took the 100 backstroke and Red Lion's Erik Wilson grabbed the gold in the 100 breaststroke. They're all back this year, and Paine and Wilson are entered in the backstroke and breaststroke, respectively.
-- Reach Dick VanOlin da at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com or 505-5407.