Tall aspirations for Warren’s Steber at PIAA swimming

LEWISBURG – Warren Area High School senior Bennett Steber stands about six-feet tall.

“He’s used to walking into the pool (deck) and being one of the tallest guys here,” said Warren swim coach Jeff Walters.

“‘Now I’m one of the shortest guys,'” Steber told his coach on Wednesday.

That’s life at the PIAA Class AAA Championships at Bucknell University, where Steber is seeded 31st out of 32 swimmers in the 100-yard breaststroke.

His seed time of 1:00.08 came at the District 10 Class AAA Championships at Penn State Behrend. While he finished third in the event, Steber’s personal-best time was among the top 32 times in the state. He broke a school record from 2006 in the process.

To put his time into perspective, Steber would be the third seed out of 32 at the PIAA Class AA Championships.

But at Thursday morning’s preliminaries, “he’s shooting from the bottom of the pile,” said Walters. “There’s some unbelievable swimmers down here.”

The top 16 swimmers advance to the finals, and the top eight earn state medals.

Walters doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, but he said Steber has a shot to advance to the finals after Thursday morning’s preliminaries.

He’s had two good practice sessions, and is exuding confidence.

“I haven’t changed the (record) board yet (at the Warren County YMCA),” said Walters, intimating Steber may break his own record, and in the process accomplish his goal of swimming in under a minute.

The top seed is Michael McBryan, of LaSalle College, who comes in with a time of 55.93 seconds. For complete seed times, visit www.piaa.org.

“Just to be here is an unbelievable accomplishment,” said Walters.