Bethlehem Press

Thursday, May 28, 2020
Press photo by Chuck HixsonSamantha Taylor broke a school record at the state meet last weekend. Press photo by Chuck HixsonSamantha Taylor broke a school record at the state meet last weekend.

State swim meet abruptly ends

Friday, March 20, 2020 by Katie McDonald in Sports

Six of Liberty’s swimmers competed at the PIAA State Swimming and Diving Championships, which began last Wednesday and were scheduled to go through Saturday, but their trip to Bucknell University was cut short when the meet was shut down on Thursday.

“It was actually kind of weird because the Class 2A divers were coming in, doing their warm-ups, and it was pretty congested in the diving area, so it was very hectic,” said Liberty swim coach Reik Foust. “Then, 10 minutes later, it was empty.”

Not knowing what to make of it, assistant Liberty swim coach Evan Kocon approached a PCN-TV cameraman to ask. The cameraman said that PCN had just been notified by the PIAA to cancel the meet.

Shortly thereafter, a meet official made an announcement for all coaches to meet at the announcer’s table, but by then, Foust and Kocon knew what was happening.

“It was a jacked up morning, a good morning meet, and then a real calm came over the crowd,” Foust said. “The college was shutting down.”

Scheduling was in the Hurricanes’ favor because sophomore Patrick Gilhool competed in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.33 on Wednesday.

“He’s well on his way but was just a little bit off,” said Foust. “He missed some turns but he understood his mistakes. He’s a great teammate, though, and was a great teammate for the girls.”

Also on Wednesday, Sammy Taylor, Abby Mack, Talia Lehr, and Sarah Park competed in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:50.59.

Foust commended Mack on her performance because the Hurricane senior is not a breaststroker.

“It’s down the list of strokes she’s rather swim, probably third or fourth, but it was the one we needed,” he said. “She was the most adaptable.”

Taylor, the district champion in the backstroke, was the last Hurricane to compete, swimming on Thursday with a time of 57.15.

“She jumped up, seeded 30 or 31, and finished 18 or 20, and broke the school record for the third time,” said Foust. “She had a fantastic end to the season, dropping those times. She does well at putting herself in a good place and pays attention to details.”

Also in the Hurricanes’ favor was the ability to witness a national record in the boys’ 50 free (19.24) and a tie for first place in the girls’ 200 IM (1:59.05).

“It was so much fun and enjoyable to watch, and the kids are appreciating the effort, and all of a sudden, it’s cut out from under you, but there are things that are bigger than swimming,” Foust said. “The kids were disappointed but understanding.”