WILKES-BARRE — As the loudest roar of the day came from the crowd, the final heat of the 100-yard breaststroke looked to be too close to call.
Not for Porter Luksic.
“I had a feeling,” the Dallas senior said. “I knew it. Just before I started racing, I knew (the win) was mine.”
That it was. By two-tenths of a second.
Luksic set a new school record with a time of 1:00.66 to win gold, highlighting another huge weekend for the Mountaineers. Both the boys and girls squads repeated as District 2 Class 2A champions on Saturday at the Wyoming Valley CYC.
“Porter, that was definitely the highlight of the day,” Dallas coach Romayne Mosier said. “He’s worked really hard, and that pretty much got us to where we needed to be to win the title.”
The boys finished with 238 team points, beating second-place Scranton Prep by 41. Dallas (235) edged Wyoming Seminary (211) for the girls crown.
Fittingly, it was Luksic who swam the final leg of the 400 free relay to close out the district meet with another first-place finish (3:19.91) for the Mounts.
But it was the 100 breast that stole the show, as Luksic went right down to the wire against Holy Redeemer’s Nick Dubinski (1:00.87).
“It’s surreal,” Luksic said. “You feel like it never happened. You get done and you wish you had all of the last six months back. And you wish you knew that this is what it was going to be like.”
Dallas also opened the day with a victory as Annalise Cheshire touched first in the 100 free with a time of 52.93.
The victory felt that much sweeter for the sophomore after she narrowly missed gold on Friday by 18-hundredths of a second in the 50 free.
“I had to clear my mind from that,” Cheshire said. “I had to be ready for today and what today had to bring.”
“She’s tough,” Mosier said. “She sets her mind to something, there’s nothing stopping her.”
Wyoming Seminary also had a successful day, highlighted by the second-place finish in the girls team standings to go along with three more gold medals.
Tara Kupsky earned her second win of the weekend by taking first in the 500 free in 5:10.23. She and her sister, Paige, teamed with Julia Baur and Ava Baur to win the 400 free relay (3:37.43).
On the boys side, Blue Knights junior Matt Bean held off Holy Redeemer’s Connor Thole by less than a second for a victory in the 100 back with a time of 54.56.
“I was feeling pretty confident coming in with a first-place seed,” Bean said. “But Connor Thole has always been right there with me. We’ve been nipping at each other’s backs for quite awhile. … Having that extra push from someone else is great.
“I couldn’t have done it without the team. We have a great support system here.”
Not to be forgotten on the day was a record-smashing performance by Scranton Prep’s Nico Lastauskas in the 500 free.
Lastauskas was already a 10-second favorite by seed time, but he reached another level by finishing in 4:43.47 to break a District 2 meet mark that had stood for nearly 30 years. He topped the old record — set by Bishop Hoban’s Chris McCall in 1987 — by more than five seconds.
The Prep girls squad also won two golds on the day as Peyton McNulty (100 back) and Audrey Campo (100 breast) both topped the podium.
Western Wayne’s Ben Hollister scored an upset in the boys 100 free, edging Dallas’ Jared Krawetz and Prep’s Joe Bushta to take first.
The Holy Redeemer girls (190 points) took third in the girls team standings with Scranton Prep (183) and Tunkhannock (145) rounding out the top five.
Tunkhannock’s boys team finished third, followed by Redeemer (150) and Seminary (109).
At the end of the afternoon, it was Dallas swimmers taking their coach hand-in-hand for the victory plunge into the pool.
“It’s unbelievable. I can’t even tell you,” Mosier said. “It was very emotional for them to swim the way that they did. They really wanted to come home again with two district titles, and they knew what it was going to take to do that.
“They stepped up. They did it. The lower seeds really climbed up and up and up to be able to take the points that we needed.”