MECHANICSBURG >> Being edged out in the opening relay of the District 3 Class AA swimming championships could send a team into a funk.
Of course, that would be some teams, but not the York Suburban girls.
Not that there was anything wrong with starting the meet at Cumberland Valley High School with a silver medal in the 200 medley relay. The team of Carson Gross, Megan Hunt, Jenna Hufnagle and Madie Devaney dropped nearly four and a half seconds from their seed time with a 1:49.80, only .21 behind winner Schuylkill Valley.
It took less than 10 minutes for Gross to recover in style, as the junior set a Suburban school record with her time of 1:50.39 to take home a gold medal in the 200 freestyle.
"I was hoping for a goal time, and I got it. I was really happy with that. Coming back and winning an event that I didn't swim last year felt really good," Gross said. "The last 50 hurt really bad, I am not going to lie. I was going for that time, and I wasn't going to let it stop me."
The Trojans weren't done there . They finished the first day in style as the foursome of Anna Schmittle, Devaney, Cara Zortman and Keelie Walker went out and won the 200 free relay in 1:39.50, exacting revenge on Schuylkill Valley, which was second.
In the event, Suburban coach Craig Brennan strung together an unusual lineup that went senior, junior, sophomore and freshman.
Both Devaney and Schmittle gained confidence from their respective 50 free performances. Devaney sprinted her way to a second-place finish in 24.92, and Schmittle placed third in 24.94 from the middle heat.
"I didn't think in warm ups that it was going to go like this," Devaney said. "I was training to get here, and no matter what happens, I wanted to be proud of myself and proud of what my team was going to accomplish. When I heard how the relay was going to be set up I thought (Brennan) was a little crazy, but he knows what he is doing."
"It's unreal. I knew that the girls in the back half were going to go after it was hard as they could," said Schmittle, the lone senior. "Everyone (swam) their best times, and it was amazing to watch. It was the best feeling."
The Suburban boys got in on the medal rush as Matt Spinello won gold in the 100 butterfly with a time of 51.51, ahead of an impressive silver-medal swim by Dover's Casey Marshall (52.79).
"I definitely felt pressure before the race. I was nervous,'' said Spinello, who entered as the top seed. "I listened to what my coach said when he said, 'Treat it like a 75 (yard race).'"
Spinello added that he drew plenty of inspiration from watching freshman teammate Aidan Fryar, who made the most of his district debut. Swimming in the middle heat of the 50 free, Fryar was fast enough to take a bronze medal after going 21.86.
Fryar was honest when asked if he had any idea he could break 22 seconds in the race.
"Not at all," he said. "I've got no clue (how). Probably the taper I guess."
Later, Fryar combined with Herrera, Spinello and Karl Schmittle for a 1:29.61 in the 200 free relay, which took third. Karl Schmittle (55.72) was also eighth in the 100 fly, as was Herrera (1:50.04) in the 200 free.
Hunt's 56.63 added a sixth-place medal in the 200 free, and Hufnagle notched a fifth in the 100 butterfly with a 1:01.88.
The Trojan girls head into Saturday's second day of competition in first place in the team standings with 167 points, 10 in front of Schuylkill Valley and 19 ahead of Trinity. The boys are sixth.
"It couldn't have been a much better day for York Suburban," Brennan said.
NALLS MEDALS FOR EASTERN YORK >> While the Golden Knights do not have a swim team, freshman Madison Nalls made her presence known during the 200 freestyle.
Nalls, who swims for the Diplomat Swim Club in Lancaster, cruised to a 1:53.70 and a bronze medal.
"I went to districts for cross country, so I kind of knew what to expect," she said. "All I had in mind was going to states."
She will have to wait until the end of the weekend to find out if she qualified for the PIAA AA meet, which is March 11-12 at Bucknell. The top two finishers in AA reach states automatically, but the next 16 spots are at-large bids based on time.
Other non-swimming schools that reached the medal stand included Delone Catholic's Caroline Dudenhoeffer, who placed eighth in the 200 individual medley (2:20.02). Robert Jones of Biglerville was sixth with a 2:02.85 in the boys' IM.
BULLDOGS TAKE HOME HARDWARE >> West York won its share of medals, starting with a fourth place in the medley relay as Claudia Keller, Taylor Hoover, Maelyn Elder and Maddi Stoner set a school record with a time of 1:54.71
It was one of three medals on the day for Elder, who also placed sixth in the IM (2:15.89) and third in the butterfly (1:01.48). The sophomore, who didn't swim high school last year, notched a personal best in the IM.
"It was hard, but I am used to it after doing a lot of (club) meets," she said. "It's fun to compete against all these girls."
Taylor Hoover won a sixth-place medal with her time of 56.21 in the 200 free, and West York was sixth in the girls' team standings.
WARRIORS MEDALS >> Gettysburg made trips to the medal stand, starting with Taylor Howery, who went 1:02.74 in the butterfly for seventh place. The Warriors boys had Derek Ondrizek (1:48.20) and Logan Hyde (1:50.00) take sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 200 free.