SILVER SPRING TWP. – While it’s true that Dallastown senior Kacey Oberlander has swam at some really big competitions before, the senior admits that she still gets pre-race jitters.
“I still get nervous like everyone else," she said. "A race is still a race."
Oberlander may get nervous, but she doesn’t swim that way. This was especially true during the first day of the District 3 Class AAA girls' swimming championships Friday.
Dominating the 200 individual medley at Cumberland Valley High School, Oberlander took a huge lead in the backstroke portion and maintained it while motoring to a school-record time of 2 minutes, 4.06 seconds.
Her backstroke split of 29.37 seconds was even better than her freestyle. The University of Alabama recruit had no idea how big a lead she built and won the race by more than three seconds.
“I know how my backstroke is," she said. "I have to make up for the breaststroke. I have to get myself ahead. I just try to keep my head in my own lane."
Oberlander enters Saturday as the top seed in the breaststroke, hoping to garner a second gold in as many days. She was also on the Wildcats’ 200 medley relay, teaming with Jena Woods, Sydney Hoover and Emma Balderson to take home an eighth-place medal.
“She earns it,” said Wildcats coach Rich Howley said of Oberlander's success. "She is a dedicated young lady."
The Dover foursome of Amie Long, Lindsay Brenneman, Maddi Hetrick and Grace Beierschmitt was able to garner a sixth-place medal in the 200 free relay.
Dallastown’s Jacob Stoner didn’t think about how many medals he may take home from boys’ swimming championships.
However, the junior may need to make some room on his awards shelf.
Stoner began the day by swimming the butterfly leg of the Wildcats’ 200 medley relay, combining with Spencer Hill, Niccolo Scrivani and Logan Brockway, to earn fifth-place hardware.
A short while later, he returned to the medal stand after swimming a time of 21.41 seconds that earned silver in the 50 free. In the very next event, the 100 butterfly, he finished third, with Hill taking second.
Three races, three medals. That’s a good day.
“I had no idea what to expect," Stoner said. "I was ready for whatever came. I’ve come a long from last year. Honestly, it’s all coach Howley’s training effects. Get there when it’s dark, leave when it’s dark. Swim and swim, then taper. It’s a strategy that works.”
Hill’s silver medal time of 49.67 in the butterfly was faster than the district record he set a year ago. However, Conestoga Valley’s James Wilson went 49.23.
“That heat was crazy, all those kids are amazing,” he said. “To do my best time by almost half a second, I can’t be mad about that. To go 2-3 with Jake in such a competitive event was awesome.”
They weren’t the only silver medals the YAIAA scored during the AAA boys’ competition. Central York sophomore Alec Peckmann blazed his way to a 1:41.24 in the 200 free. He dropped nearly three seconds from his seed time and finished only .13 off the winning time by J.P. McCaskey’s Jose Jacome.
“I knew it was going to be really close," Peckmann said. "I was going to try and win and that way I’d get my best time. I knew more what to expect, so I wasn’t as nervous as last year.”
Peckmann was also on the Panthers’ 200 free relay team that placed fifth, teaming with Will Hartzell, Anthony Gemma and Jesse Tate.
Red Lion’s Alex Sun placed fourth in the 200 IM with a 1:56.40, and Dallastown's Logan Brockway was seventh. Tate finished eighth in the 200 IM and eighth in the fly.