Related: State-record performance needed to top Delone Catholic's Griffin

LEWISBURG -- Craig Brennan was at a loss for words when the girls' portion of the two-day PIAA Class AA swimming and diving championships at Bucknell University ended.

After his initial reaction of, "I have no idea what to say," the York Suburban coach thought hard about his girls' team. Despite only six swimmers, and no divers, the Trojans managed to end the meet second in the team standings.

"It's a reflection of all the hard work, the mornings, the weight room, putting up with me ... I am very proud of them," he said.

As well he should be.

Suburban, which won the District 3 Class AA team title, scored 125 team points and finished behind only Villa Maria Academy, winners of a second straight PIAA championship with 237 points.

Suburban needed a huge performance in the final event -- the 400 freestyle relay -- and got it when Zowie Day, Carson Gross, Helen Gunn and Erin Merkle combined for a 3:33.84, which earned the foursome a silver medal.

Day got things started with a 100 free split of 54.53, followed by Gross' 52.13. Gunn went third and split 55.62. Merkle, swimming in her fourth race of the day, notched the best split from all the teams with a 51.56.

Villa Maria broke its state record from 2012 with a 3:28.90 for the gold in the 400.

Neither coach nor most of the swimmers were aware the Trojans had a shot at placing second in the state.

Of course points earned in Wednesday's gold-medal 200 free relay swim by Day, Gross, Anna Schmittle and Merkle helped pave the way.

"I wasn't following the points, my assistant was. He let me know around the backstroke or breaststroke that we were in contention," Brennan said.

"I had no idea that was possible," Gunn said. "My career ended on a high note. I am very happy to be able to finish like that."

Day, Gunn and Merkle closed stellar high school careers on Thursday.

The relay was Merkle's second silver medal of the day. Earlier she swam a 4:57.88 in the 500 free, which earned second place behind Scranton Prep's Mia Nonnenberg, who went 4:48.18.

"I knew she was going to have a great race," said Merkle, who will swim for Villanova University in the fall. "I am pleased. I swam my best time and I am really excited. I had such a good career with so many good people."

"This was my last race, that's why it's so emotional," a teary Gunn said. "I wanted to help the team as much as I could. The team was everything. We have so much heart."

In the staging area where athletes and parents congregate after the meet, Gunn tightly held the second-place trophy. She is a perfect example of Brennan's plan when he took the job at his alma mater four years ago.

"In four years I just wanted to make the team better each year," he said. "We have gotten better each year. It's an incredible experience."

Day placed 19th with a 54.59 and teammate Anna Schmittle was 23rd in 54.92 in the 100 free preliminaries.
@snavaroli; 771-2060.
  
PIAA Championships
   Thursday's results from the PIAA Class AA swimming and diving championships at Kinney Natatorium, Bucknell University.
CLASS AA GIRLS
Preliminaries
   100 freestyle -- 1, Adrianna Grabski, Mifflinburg, 49.74; 2, Victoria Griffin, Delone Catholic, 51.10; 3, Alex Fabbri, Villa Joseph Marie, 51.60; 4, Rylee Klomp, Mercyhurst Prep, 52.66; 5, Emily Zimcosky, Geibel Catholic, 52.83; 6, Becca Luft, Northern York and Emily Maxwell, Lewisburg, 53.17; 8, Syndee Karam, Bethlehem Catholic, 53.23; 19, Zowie Day, York Suburban, 54.59; 23, Anna Schmittle, York Suburban, 54.92.
   500 freestyle -- 1, Mia Nonnenberg, Scranton Prep, 4:54.89; 2, Erin Merkle, York Suburban, 5:01.83; 3, Kara Kaulius, West Allegheny, 5:02.0; 4, Abigail Thomson, Moravian Academy, 5:03.30; 5, Braelyn Tracy, Elizabeth Forward, 5:03.77; 6, Grace Kowal, Nazareth Academy, 5:06.12; 7, Bria Otwell, Freeport, 5:06.19; 8, Jessica Burkett, Boiling Springs, 5:06.65; 9, Taylor Hoover, West York, 5:07.44.
   100 backstroke -- 1, Margaret Gruber, Mars, 55.23; 2, Sarah Hitchens, Malvern Villa Maria Academy, 55.23; 3, Emily Cornell, Malvern Villa Maria Academy, 57.78; 4, Alexis Mitcheltree, Moon, 58.44; 5, Peyten Lyons, Palmyra, 58.60; 6, Caitlin Foley, Lewisburg, 58.67; 7, Krystal Wriglesworth, Clearfield, 58.94; 8, Madison Amann, Southern Lehigh, 58.99; 15, Sydney Archuleta, Northern York, 59.82; 20, Madi Bleiler, Northern York, 1:00.43
   100 breaststroke -- 1, Lauren Barber, Wilmington, 1:03.49; 2, Allie Szekely, Gwynedd Mercy Academy, 1:03.99; 3, Katie Webber, Boiling Springs, 1:05.60; 4, Holly Stein, St. Joseph, 1:05.75; 5, Katie Saloky, Central Columbia, 1:05.85; 6, Anna Paccapaniccia, Indiana, 1:06.42; 7, Morgan Fink, South Fayette, 1:06.55; 8, Mallory Lawson, Fairview, 1:06.78.
   400 freestyle relay -- 1, Malvern Villa Maria Academy 3:33.79; 2, York Suburban 3:36.69; 3, South Fayette 3:38.23; 4, Scranton Prep 3:40.45; 5, Schuylkill Valley 3:40.61; 6, Mercyhurst Prep 3:41.05; 7, West Allegheny 3:41.09; 8, Palmyra 3:41.64; 19, Northern York 3:47.99.
  
Finals
   100 freestyle -- 1, Adriana Grabski, Mifflinburg, 49.57 (PIAA record. Old: 49.61, Stef Williams, Bloomsburg, 1998); 2, Victoria Griffin, Delone Catholic, 50.17; 3, Alexa Fabbri, Villa Joseph Marie, 50.76; 4, Emily Zimcosky, Geibel Catholic, 52.06; 5, Rylee Klomp, Mercyhurst Prep, 52.20; 6, Becca Luft, Northern York, 52.30; 7, Sydnee Karam, Bethlehem Catholic, and Emily Maxwell, Lewisburg, 52.78.
   500 freestyle -- 1, Mia Nonnenberg, Scranton Prep, 4;48.18; 2, Erin Merkle, York Suburban, 4:57.88; 3, Abigail Thomson, Moravian Academy, 4:59.56; 4, Kara Kaulis, West Allegheny, 4:59.83; 5, Braelyn Tracy, Elizabeth Forward, 5:01.13; 6, Grace Kowal, Nazareth Academy, 5:06.12; 7, Jessica Burkett, Boiling Springs, 5:07.12; 8, Bria Otwell, Freeport, 5:12.84; 9, Taylor Hoover, West York, 5:04.12.
   100 backstroke -- 1, Margaret Gruber, Mars, 54.15; 2, Sarah Hitchens, Malvern Villa Maria Academy, 55.24; 3, Emily Cornell, Malvern Villa Maria Academy, 57.44; 4, Caitlin, Lewisburg, 57.94; 5, Madison Amann, Southern Lehigh, 58.34; 6, Peyten Lyons, Palmyra, 58.55; 7, Alexis Mitcheltree, Moon, 58.69; 8, Krystal Wriglesworth, Clearfield, 59.13; 16, Sydney Archuleta, Northern York, 1:00.30.
   100 breaststroke -- 1, Lauren Barber, Wilmington, 1:02.63; 2, Allie Szekely, Gwynedd Mercy Academy, 1:02.92; 3, Holly Stein, St. Joseph, and Katie Saloky, Central Columbia, 1:05.04; 5, Katie Webber, Boiling Springs, 1:06.06; 6, Anna Paccapaniccia, Indiana, 1:06.82; 7, Mallory Lawson, Fairview, 1:07.05; 8, Morgan Fink, South Fayette, 1:07.05.
   400 freestyle relay -- 1, Malvern Villa Maria Academy (Molly O'Brien, Lauren Law, Sarah Hitchens, Julie Dobson) 3:28.90 (PIAA record. Old: 3:30.96, Villa Maria Academy, 2012); 2, York Suburban 3;33.84; 3, South Fayette 3:36.53; 4, Schuylkill Valley 3:38.52; 5, Scranton Prep 3:39.54; 6, Palmyra 3:40.05; 7, West Allegheny 3:41.97; 8, Mercyhurst Prep 3:42.37.
   Team standings (top five) -- 1, Malvern Villa Maria Academy, 237 points (PIAA record. Old: 221, Villa Maria, 2012); 2, York Suburban, 125; 3, South Fayette, 119; 4, Central Columbia, 118.5; 5, Southern Lehigh, 113.
  
CLASS AA BOYS
Preliminaries
   100 freestyle -- 1, Nathan Smith, Susquehanna Twp., 46.17; 2, Phil Emerson, Franklin, 46.26; 3, Eric Tatum, Salisbury Twp., 46.44; 4, Cameron Clerici, Beaver Area, 47.40; 6, Michael Anderson, Southern Lehigh, 47.67; 7, Justin Ransel, Brookville, 47.78; 8, Brian Stepniak, Dallas, 47.85.
   500 freestyle -- 1, Drew Damich, Chartiers Valley, 4:39.32; 2, Jarod Kehl, Montour, 4:39.42; 3, Alexander Szakelyhidi, Ellwood City Riverside, 4:43.09; 4, Ian DiCarlo, Camp Hill Trinity, 4:44.25; 5, Matt Leenhouts, Fleetwood, 4:44.26; 6, Everett Albert, Lancaster Catholic, 4:45.27; 7, Trey Sheckleton, Northwestern Lehigh, 4:45.58; 8, Noah Donovan, Laurel, 4:46.24; 30, Reed French, West York, 5:07.09.
   100 backstroke -- 1, Robert Sikatzki, Fairview, 50.37; 2, Griffin Schaetzle, Mercyhurst Prep, 51.03; 3, Brent Benedict, Corry, 51.36; 4, Justin Kostelnik, Laurel Highlands, 51.75; 5, Dillon Lancenese, Brandywine Heights, 52.52; 6, Phineas O'Brien-Milne, Gettysburg, 53.45; 7, Ben Spencer, Tunkhannock, 53.46; 8, Ethan Gehenio, Northern Lebanon, 53.73; 18, Will Massey, York Suburban, 55.23.
   100 breaststroke -- 1, Shane Hallett, Boiling Springs, 58.78; 2, Noah Crawford, Bloomsburg, 58.90; 3, Andrew Rosenberger, Bellefonte, 59.56; 4, Ian Lindsey, Knoch, 1:00.07; 5, Sawyer Allen, Palmerton, 1:00.15; 6, John Mackowski, Mercyhurst Prep, 1:00.17; 7, Iain Smith, Upper Moreland, 1:00.36; 8, Henry Tanguay, Camp Hill Trinity, 1:00.50; 18, Nolan Walker, York Suburban, 1:01.996.
   400 freestyle relay -- 1, Salisbury Twp. 3:13.39; 2, Southern Lehigh 3:15.72; 3, Franklin 3:15.91; 4, Fairview 3:16.09; 5, Upper Perkiomen 3:16.21; 6, Shady Side Academy 3:17.10; 7, Bloomsburg 3:17.87; 8, Bellefonte 3:18.28; 19, York Suburban 3:22.09. Disqualified, Gettysburg.
  
Finals
   100 freestyle -- 1, Phil Emerson, Franklin, 45.63; 2, Nathan Smith, Susquehanna Twp., 45.97; 3, Eric Tatum, Salisbury Twp., 46.15; 4, Cameron Clerici, Beaver Area, 47.43; 5, Jon Anderson, Salisbury Twp., 47.56; 6, Michael Anderson, Southern Lehigh, 47.60; 7, Brian Stepniak, Dallas, 47.98; 8, Justin Ransel, Brookville, 48.15.
   500 freestyle -- 1, Drew Damich, Chartiers Valley, 4:33.75; 2, Jarod Kehl, Montour, 4:34.28; 3, Terry Shackleton, Northwestern Lehigh, 4:37.77; 4, Matthew Leenhouts, Fleetwood, 4:38.14; 5, Everett Albert, Lancaster Catholic, 4:39.23; 6, Ian DiCarlo, Camp Hill Trinity, 4:41.85; 7, Alexander Szakelyhidi, Ellwood City Riverside, 4:43.27; 8, Noah Donovan, Laurel, 4:48.57.
   100 backstroke -- 1, Robert Sikatzki, Fairview, 49.56; 2, Griffin Schaetzle, Mercyhurst Prep, 50.80; 3, Brent Benedict, Corry, 51.14; 4, Justin Kostelnik, Laurel Highlands, 51.94; 5, Dillon Lancenese, Brandywine Heights, 52.97; 6, Ben Spencer, Tunkhannock, 53.21; 7, Ethan Gehenio, Northern Lebanon, 53.26; 8, Phineas O'Brien-Milne, Gettysburg, 53.41.
   100 breaststroke -- 1, Andrew Rosenberger, Bellefonte, 58.56; 2, Shane Hallett, Boiling Springs, 58.64; 3, Noah Crawford, Bloomsburg, 59.04; 4, John Mackowski, Mercyhurst Prep, 1:00.12; 5, Ian Lindsey, Knoch, 1:00.16; 6, Iain Smith, Upper Moreland, 1:00.32; 7, Henry Tanguay, Camp Hill Trinity, 1:00.74; 8, Sawyer Allen, Palmerton, 1:00.79.
   400 freestyle relay -- 1, Salisbury Twp. (Jon Anderson, Tim Costantini, Garrett Collins, Eric Tatum) 3:11.52; 2, Franklin 3:13.00; 3, Fairview 3:15.00; 4, Southern Lehigh 3:15.32; 5, Upper Perkiomen 3:16.27; 6, Bellefonte 3:16.78; 7, Shady Side Academy 3:18.03; 8, Bloomsburg 3:18.18.
   1-meter diving -- 1, Bradley Buchter, Camp Hill Trinity, 533.05 (PIAA record. Old: 496.45, Dan Roberts, Fairview, 2012); 2, Dylan Yurosits, Lansdale Catholic, 423.65; 3, Matthew Edkins, Lake-Lehman, 407.35; 4, Ryan Blom, Milton Hershey, 401.10; 5, Nick Crouse, Allentown Central Catholic, 400.85; 6, Jonas Ricci, Palmyra, 390.80; 7, Mike Proietto, Sun Valley, 389.55; 8, Denny Bonner, Salisbury Twp., 356.55.
   Team standings (top five) -- 1, Salisbury Twp. 151; 2, Franklin 143; 3, Bellefonte 138; 4, Fairview 114; 5, Upper Perkiomen 104.