Franklin Co. reaps bounty of No. 1 swim seeds
When is the last time Franklin County swimmers were so well positioned before a District 3 Championship meet?
When districts are held Friday and Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School, a total of five county swimmers will hold No. 1 seeds, two more have No. 2 seeds and a pair of relays are ranked No. 3.
That's pretty unusual for swimmers from Chambersburg (Class 3A), Shippensburg (2A) and James Buchanan (2A).
"Some years are better than others, and this is a good one," Trojan coach Donnie Miller said. "We've gotten some good coaches in the area and the kids are working hard."
Rocket coach Lori McCullough said, "It's just nice timing with some really great talent coming up at the same time."
While Chambersburg has a pair of top-seeded boys - Jacob Greenwood in the 500 freestyle and Avery Barley in the 100 backstroke, James Buchanan came up with three in the No. 1 position. For the boys, Nick Garbinski has the best time in the 50 free, while for the JB girls, Annabelle McCullough (100 butterfly) and Rachel Kimmel (100 breaststroke) are seeded at the top.
Lori McCullough said, "We're pretty excited about our chances of getting a number of swimmers to qualify for states. And the school has gotten behind us, too. The band is going to give us a send-off when we walk down the hallway on the way to the meet."
James Buchanan's swimmers used the Mid Penn Conference meet, when it swam against 3A swimmers, as a launching pad to getting better times. It worked that way for all three top-ranked swimmers.
"Mid Penns really helped us," McCullough said. "Sometimes, the Mid Penn tends to be faster than our 2A districts meet because of the 3A schools in it, and we had a good meet there."
Kimmel dropped her time from a 1:07 to a 1:04.92 at the MPC meet, which is almost four seconds faster than the No. 2 seed at districts. Similarly, Annabelle McCullough's 59.49 time in the 100 fly is about three seconds better than the No. 2 seed.
"It was a bit of a surprise with Garbinski," Lori McCullough said, "because most of the guys in his heat (at districts) have always been seeded ahead of him. I expect the 50 to be a lot faster at districts (his time is 21.95), but he has the skills to deal with being No. 1."
Annabelle McCullough is also seeded second in the 100 free, and she's on both third-seeded relays, the 200 medley and 200 free, along with Kimmel, Annaleisse Hissong and Sarah Kimmel. Rachel Kimmel is also seeded No. 5 in the 200 IM and Garbinski sixth in the 100 free.
The Rockets have not had a swimmer qualify for states since Rachel Reeder did it in 2007-08.
"It's championship season, so it's the best and worst of the season - because of the pressure - in just two weeks," Lori McCullough said.
Shippensburg has plenty of contenders, too. For the girls, Makenna Morris is seeded No. 2 in the 200 IM and fourth in the 500 free and Madison Osanitsch is No. 5 in the 500 free. Both are members of the 200 free and 400 free relay teams which are seeded fifth.
For the boys, Sam Nonemaker is No. 4 in the 200 free and fifth in the 500 free.
Greyhound coach Jeff Kaminski said, "The kids are excited and we're ready to go. It's championship season, so we want to cut it loose and have some fast swims."
Kaminski also thinks Madelyn Facchinei (breaststroke) and Eli Zinn (100 free) are dark horses for medals.
Chambersburg's Miller is pumped for his team's chances, too.
"This is the first time in my coaching history that Chambersburg has had two different kids at No. 1," Miller said. "Avery broke our school record in the backstroke (51.16), but was second at Mid Penns to a kid from 2A, and Jacob finished behind a kid from State College, and they're in District 6. But Jacob's time best time actually came in a dual meet against Cumberland Valley.
"Everybody is looking good in practice. The boys have had intense workouts, but still getting plenty of rest. I hope they can achieve good things this weekend."
NOTE: The top three placewinners in 3A and the top two in 2A automatically qualify for the PIAA Championships ... There are 16 automatic qualifiers for states in each class, and the next-fastest 16 individuals and top eight relays also advance ... 2A girls begin at noon Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, 2A boys are 2:15 and 12:15; 3A girls are 5 and 3, and the 3A boys' sessions are 7:30 and 5:30.
District 3 Swimming Championships
Local Top 10 Seeds
200 freestyle -- 4.Jacob Greenwood (Chambersburg) 1:45.49; 200 IM -- 9.CJ Pong (Chbg) 2:02.83; 50 freestyle -- 10.Avery Barley (Chbg) 22.16; 500 freestyle -- 1.Greenwood (Chbg) 4:39.83; 100 backstroke -- 1.Barley (Chbg) 51.16; 8.Pong (Chbg) 54.49
200 freestyle -- 4.Sam Nonemaker (Shippensburg) 1:48.18; 50 freestyle -- 1.Nick Garbinski (James Buchanan) 21.95; 8.Elijah Zinn (Ship) 23.24; 200 freestyle relay -- 9.Ship, 1:35.76; 100 freestyle -- 6.Garbinski (JB) 49.08; 500 freestyle -- 5.Nonemaker (Ship) 5:03.63; 400 freestyle relay -- 8.Ship, 3:31.58.
200 medley relay -- 3.JB, 1:53.67; 200 freestyle -- 6.Madison Osanitsch (Ship) 1:58.82; 200 IM -- 2.Makenna Morris (Ship) 2:15.34; 5.Rachel Kimmel (JB) 2:16.98; 100 butterfly -- 1.Annabelle McCullough (JB) 59.49; 200 freestyle relay -- 3.JB, 1:43.91; 5.Ship, 1:44.26; 100 freestyle -- 2.McCullough (JB) 53.15; 500 freestyle -- 4.Morris (Ship) 5:20.24; 5.Osanitsch (Ship) 5:23.56; 100 breaststroke -- 1.R.Kimmel (JB) 1:04.92; 9.Madelyn Facchinei (Ship) 1:11.37; 400 freestyle relay -- 5.Ship, 3:50.22.