SWIMMING

Susquehannock standout Jacob Wade swimming for gold in senior campaign

The Warriors senior and Division I pledge has lofty goals for himself and the team this winter.

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

Susquehannock swimmer Jacob Wade has done pretty much everything at the high school level.

He’s led the Warriors boys’ team to a York-Adams League Division II championship. He’s won gold medals at both the York-Adams and District 3 Class 2A tournaments. He’s won a handful of state medals, including a pair of silvers in the 50 and 100 free.

The only thing Wade has yet to accomplish during his illustrious high school career is winning gold at the PIAA meet.

Entering his senior season, the Niagara University recruit is looking to continue his dominance while walking away with a coveted state title before he graduates.

“Yes, yes,” Wade said. “Gold in both. I’ve been very motivated ever since last season. I’m just very focused at the task at hand and progressing forward to getting to that level.”

Susquehannock's Jacob Wade wins the 200-yard freestyle at 1:43.70 during the boys' YAIAA Swimming Championships at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

For Wade to achieve his goal, he will have to get the better of Indiana High School sophomore Preston Kessler. Kessler was the only one standing between the Susquehannock standout and a gold medal at the state meet last year, besting Wade by 1.07 seconds in the 100 free.

Wade, who won a silver medal in the 50 free as a sophomore, finished fourth in the event last year, which was a bit of a disappointment.

“I came up short in the 50,” he said. “I was seeded to win, so that was very much a letdown.”

To take that final step towards a pair of gold medals in his final high school season, Wade is focusing on habits and behaviors that have nothing to do with his swimming technique.

“I’m trying to make sure I get as much rest as possible,” Wade said. “That and getting on a better sleep schedule. And also just relaxing a little more, you know, like watching movies and spending some time playing video games to try to ease my mind a little bit.”

Susquehannock's Jacob Wade wins the 100-yard butterfly at 51.83 during the boys' YAIAA Swimming Championships at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The schedule of a typical high school swimmer is quite hectic, with morning swims in addition to after-school practices. To make things even more chaotic, Wade also swims with the York YMCA program, which can be demanding as well.

“It does get complicated at times,” Wade said. “But sometimes you just have to remember that it’s all very beneficial to you and is meant to make you better so you just have to push forward and do what you have to do some days.”

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One of Wade’s biggest rivals in high school was a teammate of his at the York YMCA squad in former Spring Grove standout Daniel Gordon. While Gordon, who is now at the University of Florida, won’t be around to push Wade any longer, he still provides encouragement from afar.

“Daniel was a great mentor,” Wade said. “He’s one of my best friends and he was a big part in my success last year. He’s certainly someone that I’m going to miss.”

Susquehannock's Jacob Wade celebrates after winning the 200-yard freestyle at 1:43.70 during the boys' YAIAA Swimming Championships at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Personal goals are only part of the motivation behind Wade this season. He’s eager to help his Warriors capture another division title, which would be the third in school history (2015, 2022).

“We’re bring back a lot of the guys that helped us win the division last year,” Wade said. “I expect nothing more than a division title. Now, there a number of great teams in our division, so I just want to motivate us to try to go back-to-back.

"That’s something that, as a high school team, we work for every single day."