Three local swimmers participated in the PIAA Class AA Championships at Bucknell University Wednesday.
Northwestern's Trey Shackleton had the best finish of the three TIMES NEWS athletes. He finished seventh in the 200 Freestyle and was able to bring home a state medal for his efforts.
"It didn't go as well as I thought it could have," the sophomore admitted. "I thought I could have placed higher and had a faster time. But I am satisfied considering this is my first state meet. I still have years to improve."
Shackleton actually increased his time from the prelims to the finals, but unfortuantely fell one spot. His prelim time of 1:44.79 seeded him sixth entering the finals. He bettered that time by three-tenths of a second (1:44.44), but dropped to seventh as Jarod Kehl of Montour jumped over him.
"You could tell people were going faster at night," said Shackleton. "You could definitely see people were ready to race and that they weren't just trying to earn a spot in the finals.
"It really hit me when I stepped up to the block. My heart was racing. Even when I jumped in the water my heart was pumping. I just couldn't keep up the pace with the other guys."
Shackleton still has the 500 Freestyle on Thursday - an event he feels even better about. He is seeded third heading into the prelims.
"The 500 is a much stronger race for me," Shackleton said. "I think (Wednesday) will help me because now I have a better handle on my surroundings and I know how fast people are going to go. Just because I have a good seed doesn't mean I am going to place well. I have to go out there and earn it."
Tamaqua's Joann Butkus qualifed for the finals as well. The junior recorded a time of 24.84 in the 50 Freestyle prelims Wednesday morning and qualified for the 'B' finals. She went on to finish 14th overall in the finals with a time of 24.90.
"Heading into prelims I just wanted to work on my time more than worry about the race itself," said Butkus. "I think that helped cut down on my nerves a little bit. Then when I got into the finals, I figured the only way I could go was up since I was the 16th seed and that I was going to be happy with the outcome either way. I was able to move up two spots and I am completely thrilled.
"I am happy with my times. It has been a while since I have been consistently in the 24s. My best time is 24.66 so I came close to that today."
Butkus has taken the next step every year since making it to states as a freshman in 2011. Next season she is hoping to keep the progression going.
"I want to use this season as a stepping stone," Butkus said. "As a freshman I made states. As a sophomore I made states again and almost made it to the finals. This year I was able to make the finals. Hopefully next year I can keep improving and better both my time and my seed and come home with a state medal."
Palmerton's Katie Pielmeier also took part in the PIAA events. The junior was seeded ninth (2:11.62) heading into the 200 IM preliminaries Wednesday morning, but was disqualified and failed to make it to the finals later that night. Pielmeier finished eighth in the 200 IM last year.