LEWISBURG >> Although Friday wasn't exactly kind to YAIAA swimmers during the first day of the PIAA Class AAA girls' swimming championships, several athletes were glad to compete at Bucknell University.
Spring Grove senior Emily Jenkins capped her career with two swims, nearly making the top-16 consolation finals in both.
Jenkins first effort in the 200-yard individual medley earned her a tie for 18th place in 2 minutes, 9.12 seconds. A short while later, she finished the 100 butterfly in 57.84 seconds to finish 17th.
Her appearance at the state meet marked the first by a Spring Grove swimmer in several years.
"I am really, really happy I got to represent Spring Grove here at states, especially since it's been awhile, from my sister (Emily Jenkins) and Michele King," she said. "It's pretty cool."
The swimming was fast to say the least.
"Just go in and do what you can. Try and have fun with it, go fast and enjoy yourself," Jenkins said of her approach. "It's so competitive on so many levels. Some districts where they send one kid there are times that wouldn't even have made our podium, and there are other girls here that are blowing times out of the water."
When Erica Wise took the starting block for the 50 freestyle, she smiled over at Dallastown coach Rich Howley and held up two fingers — a running joke.
"(Former Wildcats teammate) Julia Casolo would always be like, 'two laps Erica,'" Wise laughed. "I know how many laps it is, I would get scared behind the block and so nervous. I would have to have someone tell me how many laps it is."
Not to worry on Friday as Wise swam a smooth 24.41, which tied for 19th overall.
Wise started the day by teaming with Anna Hess, Jena Woods and Mikaelie Gonzalez to swim the medley relay in 1:52.09 to place 21st.
While admitting she is surprised her high school career came to a close already, she is thrilled with how it ended. Of course, she also acknowledged the competition.
"Finals or not, I would not want it to be any other way, and I am so happy with how this season went and my entire career," Wise said. "When I come here and look at all the other girls. They are so fast and I am also intimidated by them, but sometimes you have to step back and look at yourself and say 'I am here too.' They probably say the same thing about me."
Both Red Lion's Courtney Schaefer and New Oxford's Regan Chalk will have at least one more race Saturday after competing in their first events Friday.
Schaefer was 22nd in the 200 IM in 2:10.06. Chalk placed 26th in the 100 backstroke in the 100 backstroke.
"It's always an accomplishment to make states when so many don't," Schaefer said. "I wish I could've done better."
Chalk said she thought her swim was going well, only to be surprised when she saw her time.
"Everything felt great. I thought I was finally going to break 58 (seconds). I was surprised when I saw how slow my time was."
Still, Chalk added that she was glad to be at states for both events. She will swim the 100 backstroke preliminaries Saturday, and Schaefer will be in the 500 free. Both are hopeful to have an evening swim to cap their outstanding careers.
"I am ecstatic making both events. It's exciting," Chalk said.
Reach Steve Navaroli at 771-2060.