Bombers' Solt captures gold medal
Copyright Times News 2009
OREFIELD - Shea Solt wasn't thinking about the district record. Even if she had, there's no telling if she could have shaved another two-tenths of a second off her time.
That's how close she came to setting a district record when she won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:53.88 Friday afternoon at the District 11 Class AA Championships at Parkland High School.
"I didn't even look at [the record]," said the Palmerton senior. "After I swam, my coach told me I was two-tenths off. It stinks, but I just wanted to go out there and have fun with my last district 200 freestyle and that's what I did."
Solt earned her first district gold, while Palmerton's Katie Pielmeier, Panther Valley's Karoline Vavra and the Tamqua 200-yard medley relay team all swam to second-place finishes at the championships.
Solt was seeded second, nine-tenths of a second behind Southern Lehigh's Emily Lyons, who finished over two seconds behind Solt in in the district race.
"I wasn't expecting to win it," Solt said. "It felt really good. I'm really happy to win it."
Solt also earned a trip to states - her fourth straight. She placed third at states last year in the same event with a time of 1:53.17. She's looking to swim under 1:52 this year, which will be held at Bucknell University March 19-20.
Solt was not the only area finisher surprised with their success. Vavra, who strained her calf three weeks ago, wasn't sure what to expect. Still, she swam a personal-best at 25.25 and placed second in the 50 freestyle.
"I'm actually surprised and really happy," she said. "At first there was pain, but once I got used to it I just blocked it out."
Vavra was seeded sixth with a time of 25.92.
Because only the top finishers earn automatic berths to the state meet, Vavra and all the other non-winners who swam well will have to wait a few days to find out their fate.
Swimmers who didn't qualify for states by winning their event can still qualify. In order to get in, their district times will have to be in the top-16 across the state amongst the other swimmers who didn't earn automoatic berths. By Saturday night, all of the district meets in the state will be completed.
Vavra, a junior who's been to states twice before, won't let a state-berth define her district meet.
"If it happens, it happens," she said. "Either way I'll be happy with how I did."
Meanwhile, Pielmeier is hoping to get to her first state meet. The freshman finished behind Central Catholic freshman Megan Poloha, who finished in 2:09.5.
Pielmeier came in at 2:14.97, five seconds better than her career-best and seed-time of 2:19.72.
"I'm very excited," she said. "It's my first districts and I got second place."
The Tamaqua boys' 200-yard medley relay team also improved on their time.
Coming in as the No. 3 seed at 1:49.16, the foursome of Ben Tuckett, Nate Leibensperger, Dane DeWire and Ricky Clemson took second place at 1:45.78.
Tamaqua boys will also watch for times to come in from other districts to see if they qualify for states. In relays, only eight at large bids are available.
The Raider boys are in third place in the team standings after Day 1 of the meet. The winning relay, last week's diving performances and a few high placings at districts (top 16 finishers score team points) have kept the Raiders well ahead of fourth-place Pottsville.
A few other area swimmers earned district medals, which go to the top four finishers.
The Panther Valley girls 200-yard medley relay team of Tricia Janowiak, Lauren Cormier, Alexia Follweiller and Vavra took third place.
Tamaqua's Clemson finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle.
Palmerton's KP Pielmeier took fourth place in the 200 individual medley
District 11 Class AA Swimming
(Top three finishers and
other local swimmers)
1. Southern Lehigh 249, 2. Allentown Central Catholic 217, 3. Panther Valley 115, 4. Tamaqua 109.5, 11. Palmerton 37.
200 Medley relay: 1. Southern Lehigh (Emily Lyons, Emilee Carr, Joelle Smith, Amy Phillips) 1:51.6, 2. Allentown Central Catholic, 3. Panther Valley (Tricia Janowiak, Lauren Cormier, Alexia Follweiller, Karoline Vavra), 7. Tamaqua (Chey Baates, Emily Bumbulsky, Deana DeWire, Megan Amey).
200 Freestyle: 1. Shea Solt (Palmerton) 1:53.88, 2. Emily Lyons (So. Lehigh), 3. Gabby Guttman (Salisbury), 8. Caroline Kanaskie (Tamaqua), 11. Christa Mantz (Panther Valley), 26. Megan Amey (Tamaqua), 27. Anrea Whitley (Tamaqua).
200 Individual medley: 1. Megan Polaha (Allentown Cent. Cath.) 2:09.50, 2. Katie Pielmeier (Palmerton), 3. Amy Phillips (So. Lehigh), 8. Schuyler Schmidt (Tamaqua), 12. Deana DeWire (Tamaqua), 14. Megan Wagner (Tamaqua), Chloe Hartung (Tamaqua).
50 Freestyle: 1. Lia Duffy (Pen Argyl) 25.09, 2. Karolin Vavra (Panther Valley), 3. tie Lake Duffy (Pen Argyl) and Marina Barrineau (Bl. Mountain), 5. Tricia Janowiak (Panther Valley), 11. Samantha Diglio (Tamaqua), 19. Jordan Nowacki (Tamaqua).
100 Butterfly: 1. Sarah Lyons (So. Lehigh) 1:00.08, 2. Emily Baumert (Salisbury), 3. Matalie Snyder (Allentown Cent. Cath.), 5. Alexia Follweiller (Panther Valley), 8. Chey Bates (Tamaqua), 18. Emily Bumbulsky (Tamaqua), 21. Aleida VanBuren (Tamaqua).
200 Freestyle relay: 1. Salisbury (Taylor Gonoude, Gabby Guttman, Katie Cialkowski, Emily Baumert) 1:40.96, 2. Southern Lehigh, 3. Panther Valley (Tricia Janowiak, Alexia Follweiller, Lauren Cormier, Karoline Vavra), 6. Tamaqua (Jordan Nowacki, Caroline Kanaskie, Schuyler Schmidt, Samantha Diglio).
1. So. Lehigh 237, 2. Salisbury 175.5, 3. Tamaqua 150, 12. Palmerton 31, 13. Weatherly 14, 14. Panther Vy. 9.
200 Medley relay: 1. Southern Lehigh (Jason Moyer, John Deutsch, Riley Geis, Michael Linden) 1:40.78, 2. Tamaqua (Ben Tuckett, Nate Leibensperger, Dane DeWire, Ricky Clemson), 3. Saucon Valley.
200 Freestyle: 1. Zachary Oatis (Saucon Valley) 1:46.66*, 2. Craig Bujcs (Salisbury), 3. Dan Fritz (Allentown Cent. Cath., 13. Brandon Mazepa (Palmerton), 16. Devin Smith (Tamaqua), 19. Evan Strohl (Tamaqua), 23. Calvin Troxell (Tamaqua).
200 Individual medley: 1. Keagan Collins (Salisbury) 1:57.85*, 2. Thomas Boran (Bl. Mountain), 3. Mike Bengston (Notre Dame GP), 4. KP Pielmeier (Palmerton), 6. Ben Tuckett (Tamaqua), 7. Allen Snyder (Palmerton), 11. Sam Tuckett (Tamaqua), 12. Jason Gates (Panther Valley), 17. Alex Sirkot (Weatherly), 20. Nate Leibensperger (Tamaqua), 22. Dan Starry (Tamaqua).
50 Freestyle: 1. Jason Moyer (Southern Lehigh) 21.56*, 2. John Matulevich (Pottsville), 3. Christopher Weiss (Saucon Valley), 4. Ricky Clemson (Tamqua), 5. Matthew Cullen (Weatherly), 16. Zak Yachera (Tamaqua), 20 Tyler Butkus (Tamaqua).
100 Butterfly: 1. Drew Leahy (Pottsville) 54.56, 2. Mike Bengtson (Notre Dame GP), 3. Riley Geis (So. Lehigh), 5. Dane DeWire (Tamaqua), 9. Sam Tuckett (Tamaqua), 13. Michael Sloboda (Panther Valley), 15. Evan Stoll (Tamaqua)
200 Freestyle relay: 1. Salisbury (Peter Cialkowski, Eric Tatum, Sam Tatum, Keagan Collins) 1:29.80, 2. Pottsville, 3. Allentown Central Catholic, 7. Tamaqua (Zak Yachera, Corey McCann, Tyler Butkus, Sam Tuckett)
*Denotes District Record