WILKES-BARRE — Mere moments after the awards ceremony concluded, Dallas coach Romayne Mosier was tossed into the pool. Wyoming Seminary coach Philip Mercatili could not wait for his due – he dove into the water before his swimmers could get to him.
For lack of a better phrase, both coaches took the post-title dunking ritual like a champion.
The Dallas girls and Wyoming Seminary boys finished as District 2 Class 2A swimming and diving champions Saturday at the final day of competition at the Wyoming Valley CYC.
Both titles were a stark contrast from each other.
Riding the wave of a 41-point lead thanks to diving, the Mountaineers won their third straight title with depth, holding off pesky Scranton Prep and Wyoming Seminary squads that boast many of the fastest swimmers in the district.
“They just made up their minds that they weren’t going to lose,” Mosier said. “They were just focused, they came to practice and did what they had to do in practice. They knew it was going to be tough, and they knew they had to move up in the rankings.”
The Wyoming Seminary boys, on the other hand, won four of Saturday’s five races to win its first district title in 14 years.
“It’s finally a culmination of the season,” Mercatili said. “We’ve been waiting since day one. We knew that we were capable of this. We’ll continue to rest for states. For many of our guys and some of our girls, the best is yet to come. I don’t think we necessary hit our rest perfectly.”
Dallas’ Annalise Cheshire won her second race of the weekend, the fifth of her career, by beating Berwick’s Becca Decker to the finish by 1.28 seconds in the 100 free. Cheshire finished in a time of 53.43 seconds. Having been a part of a district championship in each of her three years, Cheshire brought home the Mountaineers’ only two swimming gold medals.
“That definitely got me going for the rest of the day,” she said. “Winning for the third time in a row was something the girls have never done. Back during my freshman year, it was the first time the girls have ever won districts. To win three in a row is very special to me.”
Wyoming Seminary sophomore Marcos Rico annihilated the 100 breast district record in a time of 57.26 seconds. His performance shattered a 32-year-old record held by Bishop Hoban’s Mark Dombroski by 2.04 seconds. By weekend’s close, Rico, a Spanish foreign exchange student, put his name on three separate district records.
Two Wyoming Seminary seniors added more district championships to their hardware collection. Stan Zaneski raced to a 46.51-second performance in the 100 free for his fourth career district gold. Matt Bean broke away from a neck-and-neck 100 back race at the halfway point to beat out Dallas’ Mikhail Krochta by 42-hundreths of a second. Bean reclaimed his backstroke title in a time of 54.26 seconds.
“The district championship is a feeling like none other,” Bean said. “What is comes down to for us is a fantastic team. We can’t do what we do on an individual basis without the support put in by our coaches.”
In the most thrilling match of the weekend, Wyoming Seminary freshman April Kupsky touched the wall one-hundreth of a second – less than a blink of an eye – in front of Dallas’ Abby Zolner. Kupsky jetted out to an early one-second lead in the first 50 yards. Zolner inched back to take a lead with two laps remaining. After running a slower time for six straight laps, Kupsky picked up the pace on the home stretch to pass Zolner with a time of 5:15.84.
“(Zolner) started to catch up more,” Kupsky said. “I was really nervous that I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was excited because I actually had a race to push me at the end.”
The Blue Knights swept the boys and girls 400 free relays. For the girls, the foursome of April Kupsky, Ava Baur, Haley Thier and Tara Kupsky finished in first with a 3:36.24.
The Blue Knights trailed by four-tenths of a second before Thier cruised ahead on the third leg that was two seconds quicker than her competitors. The boys’ relay of Zaneski, Bean, Yonah Wasik and Rico missed out on a district record by a half second but took first in 3:13.51.
Holy Redeemer senior McKenna Zeller, who had missed a month of the season due to a broken arm, took 2.5 seconds off her seed time to finish second in the 100 back. In addition to Zeller, the Wyoming Valley Conference received automatic PIAA qualifying swim from Decker (100 free), Zolner (500 free), Holy Redeemer’s Margaret Walting (100 breast), and the Dallas 400 free relay.