Strong seconds in Day 1 of D10 swim meet

ERIE – You could hear the excitement in Warren Area High School swim coach Jeff Walter’s voice.

“They gave it everything they had,” said Walters of, especially, Ellis Beardsley and Logan Gearhart, who finished second in their 200-yard freestyle races by mere fingertips on the first day of the District 10 Class AAA Swimming Championships at Penn State Behrend.

“We practically had to pull those kids out of the pool (after their races),” said Walters.

Gearhart finished second in a Warren Area High School record 1:46.99 – fingertips behind Prep swimmer Reid Morrison’s 1:46.78.

Only district champions throughout the state automatically qualify for the PIAA Tournament at Bucknell University, but the next 16 best times in each event in the state also qualify. Those qualifiers will not be known until all district meets are concluded.

Gearhart’s time bested Warren graduate Adrian Shodi’s previous mark from 2007 of 1:48.56.

“Logan shattered our school record,” said Walters. “Today Logan just swam out of his mind, and he swam right after Ellis swam out of her mind. Both Ellis and Logan almost won with amazing finishes.”

Walters said Gearhart beat his previous best time in the 200 free by nearly five seconds.

Beardsley was also second in the 200 free, beating her previous best of 2:05.59 with a time of 2:00.09. She lost by .12 seconds to McDowell’s Danielle Snyder (1:59.57).

“She came into that wall so hard we thought maybe she had broken two fingers,” said Walters. “That was a phenomenal finish and that’s what we preach to these kids.

“The kids had some great times,” said Walters, whose Dragons still have their No. 1 seed in the backstroke, Elin Smith, to go along with Saturday events.

On Friday, Warren’s female 200 freestyle relay team of Smith, Anna Falvo, Mandy Fehlman and Beardsley and 200 medley relay of Smith, Falvo, Fehlman and Christine Kuzminski each finished third.

“Anna (Falvo) came back from being out for several days and several practices and came back strong in medley relay,” said Walters.

Fehlman hit a “new plateau” in the 100 butterfly with her best-ever time of 1:09.95.

Smith warmed up for Saturday’s backstroke with a sixth-place finish in the 200 IM.

For Warren’s boys, Cameron Daniels “hit a new level for him” with a 22.73 time in the 50 free (7th place out of 14).

Warren’s 200 free relay team of Gearhart, Bennett Steber, Brad Walters and Daniels was fourth, and Brad Walters returned an appendectomy for an eighth-place finish in 100 fly, and Steber and Sean McGuinness 11th and 12th in 200 IM, respectively.

Walters said “the Prep coach came over and shook hands” after the boys meet and “McDowell coach after the girls meet,” which is the ultimate respect for the effort Warren gave.

Prep’s boys are leading after Day 1, and keep in mind they have won 10 straight District 10 titles. McDowell is dominating the girls events and has won 17 straight titles.

Friday’s results from the opening day of the District 10 swimming championships at Penn State Behrend’s Junker Center pool. Entrants in capital letters automatically qualify for the PIAA meet at Lewisburg. Remaining qualifiers will be determined based on times from across the state: