A year’s worth of training went into this.
So the swimmers at the PIAA Class 3A championships, held Wednesday and Thursday at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium, can be forgiven for being a little shell-shocked.
Wednesday’s events went off as usual, but on Thursday, after the preliminaries, meet director Melissa Mertz announced that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the final event to be contested would be girls diving. Class 2A was postponed, and Class 3A events on Thursday would go to timed finals, meaning that medals would be awarded and points assessed based on the morning swims.
Haley Scholer of Central Bucks South picked up her first state medal in an individual event, taking sixth in the 200-yard individual medley with her time of 2:03.96. Because the 200 IM was contested on Wednesday, Scholer got to swim in the “A” final at night.
“I feel very lucky that I got to the podium,” Scholer said. “I honestly wasn’t expecting to do that well but I’m very, very happy.”
She also finished 13th in the 100 backstroke (56.43). Because it was held on Thursday, she only swam that event once.
“That was really a surprise,” she said. “If I had known that was going to be my final time I would have given it my all but I thought I was going to have to swim it again. I think mentally it changes how you swim, too. If I had known it was the last race of the season, I would have brought more energy.
“It’s disappointing to have the meet end like that but luckily I’m a junior so I have another year and hopefully next year we’ll be able to have finals without any disruptions.”
The Titans’ 200 freestyle relay of Heidi Scholer, Haley Scholer, Kaylin Goodling and Chloe Matsick finished 11th (1:36.77).
Heidi Scholer, a senior, was 19th in the 50 freestyle (24.46) and 29th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.19).
“It hasn’t really hit me yet that it was my last race with my sister,” Haley Scholer said. “The whole meet feels like a dream. I feel like this didn’t really happen. I guess I’m still processing it.”
Heidi Scholer will attend Pitt, where she plans to major in nursing. Haley Scholer will eventually be six minutes away, at Duquesne, where she will swim.
“I’m not sure what my major will be but I’m thinking management and then going to law school,” Haley Scholer said. “I honestly didn’t know where Duquesne was but when I found out it was so close to Heidi I thought that was really cool.”
She will not be lonely her senior year. Brother Richard will be a freshman on the team next year.
“I’ll always have a sibling on the team,” she said. “They’re both breaststrokers and I’m a backstroker, so that’s where I’m different.
“This was definitely a good season for us, despite the way it ended. I’m looking forward to next year already. At South we’re very lucky to have a great group of kids and coaches who just want to be there and work hard. When I’m around people who want to work hard, that makes me want to work hard, too.
“We’ll see how it goes next year. Hopefully we’ll put good relays together. I want to finish off my high school swim career with a bang.”
Council Rock North’s Abby Henderson was the winner of the consolation heat final in the 200 individual medley. That swim put her in ninth place with a time of 2:03.73.
She was also 11th in the 100 backstroke (56.13) as a result of her morning swim.
“I definitely would have done it differently had I known it was a timed final,” Henderson said of her backstroke race. “Finals get me more excited and I’m a senior. If I had known that was my last swim, I definitely would have gone all out.
“I got out of the water thinking I had one more swim. I didn’t know I had already done my last swim, so it doesn’t feel like it’s over for me. “
Henderson found out when she met up with some friends who swim for Class 2A schools who had just arrived at the venue. Class 2A, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, has been postponed. There is no makeup date at this time.
“My friends in Class 2A told me their meet was canceled and my final was canceled,” Henderson said. “It was a big surprise. So all the Class 2A people drove out to Bucknell, hung around for an hour, then headed home again.
“It was worse for them than it was for me. At least I got to swim, and I got to make it back to the night swim in the IM. I was hoping to make it to a final and I just missed but I’m happy with my time, and I had a lot of fun. Being with the team made it a really good experience.
“It was so weird. I never thought my high school career would end like this, but I’m so thankful for my time on the team.”
She will continue her swim career at Penn State, where she plans to study kinesiology, with an eye toward perhaps becoming a physical therapist.
“I leave at the end of June for the summer session and to start training,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Henderson led off the 200 medley relay for Emily Nelson, Ellie Brandbergh and Callie Haggerty. The foursome took 11th (1:47.56).
Brandbergh took 14th in the 100 butterfly (56.86) and 26th in the 100 backstroke (57.72).
Brandbergh, Haggerty, Cristina Calibeo and Henderson were 22nd in the 200 freestyle relay (1:39.26).
Central Bucks West freshman Lina Hofmann took 14th in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.06).