Return of York-Adams swimming meet features some record-setting performances

Spring Grove's Daniel Gordon reacts after winning the 100-yard breaststroke at 56.90, breaking the meet, league and pool records, during boys' YAIAA Swimming Championships at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

EMIGSVILLE – The excitement is apparent whenever the York-Adams League Swimming Championships are held.

After a one-year hiatus in 2021 becuase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league meet returned to Central York High School this past weekend.

While some things were different — the boys’ and girls’ teams were not allowed on the deck at the same time — the smiles on the faces of the medalists, their teammates, their coaches and the fans were very familiar.

So, too, were some of the faces that stood atop the podium during the medal ceremonies.

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Spring Grove’s Daniel Gordon and Central’s Camryn Leydig were both front and center over the Friday and Saturday sessions.

Gordon, a University of Florida recruit, won the 50 freestyle (20.43 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (56.90 seconds) while setting league, meet and pool records in both events.

Leydig won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, as well as leading the Panthers to a first-place finish in the 200 free relay. She also swam the first leg for the silver-medal-winning 200 medley relay squad.

“She is a really role model for our team in terms of togetherness,” Central coach Heather Kincaid said of Leydig, a University of Akron recruit. “I know a lot of the younger girls really look up to her, so she’s a really good role model for that. And her technique work and overall dedication while still being such a stable role model for our younger girls has been really nice.”

New faces and a big surprise: While seniors such as Gordon and Leydig have been no strangers to the top podium at the league meet during their high school careers, there were a handful of new faces excelling in the 2022 event, as well at least one big surprise.

Dallastown sophomore Julia Havice grabbed the spotlight in her first-ever league meet. Havice set a pool record in the 50 free Friday with a time of 23.88 seconds. She followed that up with another gold-medal performance in claiming the 100 free.

“I kind of had a goal in mind to come here and win my races,” said Havice, who swam only with the York YMCA team last year. “I always try to do my best so (I’m surprised) a little bit, but I think it’s good to be confident for all your races.”

Havice bettered Gettysburg standout Hannah Brainard, who won the 200 free Friday, to earn gold in the 100 free. Despite barely missing out barely on a second gold, Brainard was pleased with her performance over the two days.

“I think I did pretty well,” said Brainard, a Canisius recruit. “I’m not tapered yet and didn’t have my best suit on, but I did well.”

Brainard won the District 3 2-A title in the 100 free last year while finishing second in the 200 free as a junior.

Sam Nelson from Gettysburg was one of the biggest winners from the league meet after winning the 500 free with a time of 4:50.36.

“He thinks of himself as more of a sprinter,” Gettysburg assistant coach Kevin Hardy said. “But he’s got the build to do distance.”

Nelson, however, doesn’t have a long track history of swimming the event, a fact that makes his gold-medal performance all the more surprising.

“I really couldn’t have done it with my friend Evan Kahn,” Nelson said. “He counted for me and that helped me out so much.”

Nelson dropped eight seconds off his personal record time in claiming the event, which was two seconds ahead of runner-up Christian Henry of Central York.

“It’s really a long endurance race,” Nelson said. “And I hadn’t really done it much before, but my coach just asked if I wanted to try it (earlier this year) and I did pretty well. So today was only like more fourth or fifth time doing it.”

Smolinski claims three golds: Dallastown’s Thomas Smolinski clamed three golds over the event. The Wildcat senior was part of both the 200 free and 400 free relay teams that placed first, in addition to winning the 100 free with a time of 48.03 seconds.

Susquehannock’s Jacob Wade won a pair of golds Friday with wins in the 200 free and the 100 fly.

Red Lion’s Bella Butera won the 200 IM Friday and helped the Lions 200 medley relay team to a league- and meet-record finish. The Lions quartet of Hanna Aggen, Butera, Sophia Breschi and Ryleigh Czerwinski bested Leydig’s CY team, which also bested the previous league and meet best times, by .08 of a second.

Barlett, Thomas take diving crowns: Stephen Barlett enjoyed a record-setting performance on Thursday evening en route to winning the York-Adams boys’ diving championship.

The Northeastern High School senior broke the 11-dive meet and league records with a 520.40 total.

Susquehannock’s Max Pflieger finished in second at 472.25, followed by two Gettysburg divers – London Mitchell at 271.25 and Matt Herkowski at 270.15.

Spring Grove’s Devon Berwager was fifth at 236.50, while his teammate, Camden Daily, was sixth at 216.35.

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The girls’ event was much tighter, with the top three divers separated by fewer than seven points.

West York’s Taelyn Thomas took the girls’ championship with a 354.55 total, followed by Red Lion’s Sophia Breschi at 349.20 and Susquehannock’s Mckenna Porter at 347.70.

Gettysburg’s Solie Stenger was fourth at 294.20, followed by Susquehannock’s Ryleigh Marks at 287.00 and Dallastown’s Zoe Gillen at 282.45.

Barlett, Pflieger and Porter will now attempt to defend their District 3 diving titles. Barlett is the two-time defending district 3-A boys’ champ, while Pflieger has won two straight district 2-A boys’ crowns. Porter won the 2021 district 2-A girls’ title.

The district 2-A diving meet is Wednesday, Feb. 23, at Big Spring. The district 3-A diving championship is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 26, at Gov. Mifflin.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.