The look on Regan Chalk's face was of sheer joy. Sure, the New Oxford senior has won a gold medal at the YAIAA swimming championships before, but something special happened in Thursday's first round of the two-day championships at Central York.
Chalk defended her 100 butterfly title when she swam a 58.48 to nip Red Lion's Courtney Schaefer by a mere .46. She was also a part of two Colonials relays that earned medals, teaming with Hailey Janocha, Morgan Richter and Rachel Groden in the medley relay that placed eighth to start the meet.
A short while later, after winning the 100 fly, Chalk was with Janocha, Groden and Madison Smith to win a sixth-place medal in the 200 freestyle relay.
"I am ecstatic with the way our team came together so much this season," she said.
Of course, defending her fly title was the catalyst.
"I really wanted to do that. It was one of my main short-term goals. My long term goal is to make it to states," Chalk said. "After that race, I feel confident. "
Her teammate Groden is getting used to the medal stand at Central. In addition to the two relays, the junior also placed eighth in the 50 free with her time of 26.45. Groden won four medals in 21 hours. She placed fourth in Wednesday night's diving competition.
"I am speechless. It's an amazing feeling" Groden said of her four medals. "I never thought I would do that. I was happy just to make it to (the YAIAA meet) in diving and do 11 dives."
SPRINTING EXPERTISE >> Dallastown's Erica Wise entered the meet with the top time this season in the 50 free. In fact, no one in the YAIAA posted faster sprints than Wise this season.
And under the pressure of the YAIAA championship meet, Wise went even faster Thursday when she swam a 24.29, finishing more than a second ahead of a solid time by Amira Washington-Myers (25.54) of Red Lion.
"I think it's just the fun of everything (at the meet), and being surrounded by such a positive and encouraging team," Wise said.
Wise did her part for the team, as well, picking up a pair of relay gold medals. She started the night combining with Anna Hess, Jena Woods and Mikaelie Gonzalez to go 1:51.24 while winning the 200 medley relay by nearly three seconds.
She then closed the meet with Woods, Hess and Justina Thornley to win the 200 free relay in 1:40.51. Wise won't swim a second individual event on Friday's second day. Instead, she will attempt to chase down a third relay gold.
"It's fun to swim by yourself, but it's so much more rewarding to know you are helping out other people," Wise said.
HOOVER STARTS STRONG >> West York's Taylor Hoover swam a sub-2-minute 200 free as a freshman but hadn't been able to do it since. Until Thursday, that is.
The junior swam a 1:56.54 to win the 200, finishing 1.12 ahead of Lindsay Brenneman of Dover, who earned silver. Hoover, for her part, was most happy with a seven-second drop from her seed time.
"I credit her with that whole race. Having her next to me was the reason for that time," Hoover said of Brenneman. "I knew I was going to be with Lindsay. We both had amazing swims, so did (York Suburban's) Megan Hunt. None of us expected those times. My goal was a sub-2 minute. The 1:56 is a lifetime best."
SCHAEFER NOT SHUT OUT >> Although she finished second to Chalk in the 100 fly, Schaefer was terrific while bringing home gold in the 200 individual medley. The senior, who will swim at Georgia Southern in the fall, swam a 2:09.13 to win the IM by more than four seconds.
She was also a part of the Lions' third-place medley relay team.
at Central York
200 Medley Relay — 1. Dallastown (Erica Wise, Anna Hess, Jena Woods, Mikaelie Gonzalez), 1:51.24. 2. York Suburban. 3. Red Lion. 4. Central York. 5. Dover. 6. Dallastown. 7. West York. 8. New Oxford; 200 free — 1. Taylor Hoover, WY, 1:56.54. 2. Lindsay Brenneman, Do. 3. Megan Hunt, YS. 4. Summer McIntyre, CY. 5. Morgan Staub, Do. 6. Olivia Sopko, CY. 7. Devin Severet, RL. 8. Annie Williams, Get; 200 IM — 1. Courtney Schaefer, RL, 2:09.13. 2. Emily Jenkins, SG. 3. Jessica Sun, RL. 4. Mackenzie Sopko, CY. 5. Isabella Wise, Dt. 6. Nancy Marston, Dt. 7. Julia Randolph, Dt. 8. Sarah Hartman, CY; 50 free — 1. Erica Wise, Dt, 24.29. 2. Amira Washington-Myers, RL. 3. Madie Devaney, YS. 4. Maddi Hetrick, Do. 5. Maddi Stoner, WY. 6. Anna Schmittle, YS. 7. Lauren Cooksey, Dt. 8. Rachel Groden, NO; 100 fly — 1. Regan Chalk, 58.48. 2. Courtney Schaeffer, RL. 3. Emily Jenkins, SG. 4. Carley Vaughn, CY. 5. Mikaelie Gonzalez, Dt. 6. Sarah Spinney, CY. 7. Maelyn Elder, WY. 8. Sarah Hartman, CY; 200 free relay — 1. Dallastown (Erica Wise, Jena Woods, Anna Hess, Justina Thornley), 1:40.51. 2. York Suburban. 3. Dover. 4. Central York. 5 Dallastown. 6. New Oxford. 7. York Suburban. 8. Northeastern.