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Teag Culver was unable to successfully defend his Class AA 200-yard freestyle title at the District Three Swimming Championships on Friday.

But that doesn't mean the Palmyra senior and his teammates weren't still hanging around the medal stand quite a bit.

Led by Culver's still impressive bronze medal effort in the 200 free - his specialty event- the Cougars enjoyed a strong opening act at the two-day district swimming extravaganza at Cumberland Valley.

Not tapered prior to the meet and focused more on pursuit of a state title later this month, Culver still touched the wall in a season-best time of 1:47.40 and later anchored the 200 freestyle relay team to a third-place finish that left Palmyra in fifth place in the team standings at the halfway mark with 92 points.

Joshua Wakefield also made it to the podium, placing fourth in the 50 freestyle in 22 seconds flat, and joining Culver, Joey Giordano and Tanner Yaw on the 200 free relay, which set a new school record in a time of 1:29.99.

The Palmyra girls' 200 free relay, Annville-Cleona's Cole Connelly and Adam Fox and Cedar Crest's Caitlyn Gelgot also flew the Lebanon County flag high.

The Palmyra relay of Maddie Wolfe, Shealyn Trostle, Samantha St. Clair and Ellie Keck grabbed 5th place in girls AAA, while Connelly took sixth in the 200 IM, and Fox claimed a seventh-place finish in the 50 free in boys AA. Gelgot earned a seventh-place medal in the 50 free in girls AAA.

Culver was still the story from a county perspective, though, even if he wasn't the story in his bid to repeat.

"I didn't really expect to win that one," Culver admitted. "I would have liked to, but I didn't shave or taper for this meet. Not really disappointed, just swimming kinda sore. I'm hoping to still have a decent seed for states."

"We did not taper Teag as much as we tapered some of the other kids, just for what his goals are and where we were with his training," Palmyra coach Cynthia Lyons said of Culver, who is seeded third in Saturday's 500 freestyle. "So for him to still drop time and have his best time of the season today is super."

'Super' is a solid description for the performance of Wakefield, who who entered the 50 free seeded sixth and missed out on a bronze medal by just .06 seconds.

"It means a lot to me," said Wakefield, seventh in the 50 free last season. "It was quite the improvement. I was hoping to break our record but I only got 22 seconds. It was still pretty good, though. I was just hoping to break (the school) record, I wasn't thinking about placing at all."

The better-than-expected performance by Wakefield certainly helped the Cougars' cause in the team competition, where they stand above the majority of the 18-team field in the fifth-place position.

"So far, so good," said Lyons. "A broken record, and we had fast times. I think we're right where we wanted to be. We're excited about what's coming up. Hopefully we'll swim as well (on Saturday). We're hopeful to continue to have our best times now."

Also for the Palmyra girls on Friday, Eliie Keck posted a ninth-place effort in the 100 butterfly,Samantha St. Clair placed 13th in the 200 freestyle, and Karly Bruce was 28th in the same event. The 200 medley relay of Kate Hess, Kate Sanborn, Abbey Hess and Maddie Wolfe took 14th, and Abbey Hess tied for 19th and Shealyn Trostle was 27th in the 200 IM.

Also on Friday, in boys AAA, Cedar Crest turned in some solid efforts, most notably a 10th-place finish in the 200 medley relay by the quartet of Matthew Moffitt, Glaucio Silva, AJ Loehr and Gabriel Deiderick.

In addition, Silva was 13th in the 200 IM, Moffitt tied for 18th in the 50 free, and Loehr was also 18th, in the 100 butterfly. The Falcons accumulated 18 team points that left them tied for 19th.

The Palmyra girls stand in 11th place in AAA and the Cedar Crest girls are 22nd after the first day of competition.

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