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Dallastown seniors swim to bittersweet finish

LEWISBURG - When Dallastown’s Spencer Hill and Kacey Oberlander left the pool deck at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium on Thursday, it closed a pair of terrific swimming careers.

Both left the PIAA Class AAA championships with medals.

Oberlander earned a bronze medal in the 100-yard backstroke with her time of 54.86 seconds, shortly after Hill finished eighth in the same event during the boys’ meet.

Wildcats’ coach Rich Howley got emotional when he thought about the two, as well as the many swimmers who have graduated from his successful program.

“It’s hard. Especially those seniors that have been part of the program since they were 6-years-old,” Howley said. “It becomes a family. It’s something special to have that’s hard to put your finger on.”

For Hill, the day was bittersweet. Although his high school career came to an end, after the meet he committed to swim at Drexel.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet. It will on the ride home,” Hill said.

Meanwhile, Oberlander, who already committed to Alabama, set Dallastown and YAIAA records with her All-American time in the 100 back.

Although few may consider swimming to be a momentum-based sport, Central York’s Alec Peckmann proved that to be the case on Thursday.

A day earlier, the sophomore closed out the first day of states by helping the Panthers’ 200 free relay reach the consolation finals and place 13th. He broke a school record with his split in the leadoff leg of that race.

Then on Thursday, Peckmann came back and swam in the first event of the day, the 100 free. His time of 46.38 was good for a spot in the championship finals, and Peckmann walked away with his first PIAA medal, seventh-place hardware after swimming 46.28 in the finals.

“Last night really helped. It gave me more confidence for today,” he said. “It’s like the greatest feeling ever. I didn’t expect to be on the stand as a sophomore.”

The experience of being at districts last season paid dividends.

“I learned a lot as a freshman. I didn’t do so hot,” Peckmann said. “I definitely got more mentally tough.”

Red Lion’s Dylan North swam in the consolation finals in the 500 free at the last PIAA meet of his high school career. He finished 16th overall.

Jacob Stoner, Logan Brockway, Patrick Dunnigan and Hill capped the boys’ meet in style with an 11th-place finish in the 400 free relay consolation finals.

“We’ve been working hard all season. Dallastown has always been fond of relays,” said Brockway, who also placed 28th in the 100 backstroke.