'Go out fast, hold on for dear life': Chambersburg's Estep earns state gold medal
It was the race of the season.
And Derek Estep won it.
The junior from Chambersburg touched in 1:38.50 to capture first place in the 200 freestyle on Friday at the first day of the PIAA Class 3A swimming championships, held at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.
Estep, seeded second after the preliminaries, duked it out with top seed Can Yeniay of Conestoga, who wound up second (1:38.87).
“I thought I definitely had a chance,” Estep said. “I knew I had to go out fast and hold on for dear life because Can was going to come back on me. He’s a really good back half swimmer. So once I got the lead I just did what I could to hang on. I used my legs in that last 50.
“That was pretty much my plan. I like to focus on building each 50 so in the first 50 I like to go light on the legs and by the end of it just go all out.”
Class 2A results:Susquehannock star caps career with another state medal; Suburban's Moore shines in debut
He was fourth in this event last year.
“The goal coming in this year was to win it,” he said. “This really takes the pressure off the rest of the meet for me. I have the 100 free, and I just want to make top eight.”
Chambersburg’s 200 freestyle relay of Alex Kaczmark, Derek Estep, Brandon Estep and Joseph Decker was 22nd (1:28.02).
Kaczmark, a freshman, was 22nd in the 100 butterfly (51.84) while Brandon Estep placed 24th in the same event (52.26) to round out the day for the Trojans.
Saturday, Estep exceeded his own expectations when he finished fourth in the 100 freestyle (45.75).
“I was hoping to get eighth,” the Chambersburg junior said. “So I’m pretty happy with fourth.
“I definitely have to go out faster. I only went out in like a 22.3, and I’ve got to be out in at least a 21 to compete with these guys.”
“Overall, this was a fantastic meet for me,” he said. “It was super fun, winning the 200 free was amazing and coming back and getting fourth in the 100 free was great, and we had our relay come back at night. We’ve never had a relay here before, so that’s pretty exciting. It’s been a successful meet. This is definitely one I’ll remember.
The Trojans ended the competition on a high note, winning the 400 free relay consolation heat with a time of 3:10.57. Alex Kaczmark, Derek Estep, Brandon Estep and Joseph Decker teamed up for the ninth-place finish.
Chambersburg finished 12th in team scoring with 51 points.
Lebanon's Hidalgo earns silver and bronze
The final evening of competition was a good one for Carlos Hidalgo.
Hidalgo, a senior from Lebanon, touched in 44.56 to capture second place in the 100 freestyle on Saturday night.
“I’m very happy with that time,” he said. “That was one of my goal times, to go 44 in the 100. I wanted to win, but Shane (Eckler of Ridley, the winner) just hasn’t lost all year.
“This overall was a good meet for me. I got some best times, but now I’m leaving high school swimming behind. It’s going to be a new step for me. It’s tough to say goodbye, but I’m looking forward to it.”
On Friday, the Lebanon senior earned a bronze medal by virtue of his third-place finish in the 50 freestyle (20.49).
“I always want to come into the meet and have fun, but I also want to win,” Hidalgo said. “I was fourth after the prelims so I moved up a place, so that’s good.
“I wish it was a first but it’s not bad, and I dropped time, so that’s pretty good.”
He will swim at St. Bonaventure next year, while majoring in economics.
Lebanon's Parker races to fifth-place finish
The boys 100-yard breaststroke was a tense race at this year.
And Will Parker was right in the thick of it.
Parker, a junior from Lebanon, finished fifth with his time of 56.31.
“I was expecting to reach the ‘A’ final but I didn’t know what place I would get,” he said. “It was a very tight competition. From third place to eighth was only about a second, that’s how close it was, and I was right in there.”
Third place finisher Alex Karahalis of Oxford touched in 56.23 while eighth place finisher Aidan Faikish of North Penn’s time was 57.26.
“This is my first individual medal, and it’s very encouraging that I have another year to try to come back here, but I feel that I have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’m excited about it, though.
"I think I have to work on my start and my walls. That’s where I lose my races. On top of the water, I’m usually the fastest in the race and the last 25 is where I usually lose it.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back next year and hopefully finishing higher.”
Parker also placed 19th in the 50 freestyle (21.60).
Dallastown's Havice makes the podium
Julia Havice knows the feeling of standing on the podium.
The Dallastown junior finished eighth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.80.
“I was nervous, obviously,” she said. “I think finals I was less nervous because the morning you’ve got to place right to make sure you get to come back at night. I was excited, too, because the 50 is such a thrilling race. It’s so quick. I always love to put it all out in the pool.”
Havice was ninth in this race as a sophomore, winning the consolation heat.
“I just missed getting a medal,” she said. “So this year, this was a really big deal to me.
“I consider myself more of a night swimmer so having a good swim in the morning is a little difficult for me but I think I did really great this year with that. I’m really proud of myself. I feel like I’m getting better every year and I feel really good in the pool.”
She placed 23rd in the 100 freestyle (53.34) on Saturday. She also anchored the 400 freestyle relay for Bella Wilkinson, Lauren Oswandel and Lydia Williams, which finished 26th (3:41.34).
“Our relay made it, which I’m really excited about,” she said. “I was alone here last year, so this year it was great to have my teammates here cheering me on. I’m really looking forward to swimming in the relay.”
The rest of the Class 3A results
Three area divers were on the boards Friday. Taylor Tuohy, a junior from Dover, was 13th with a score of 189.75 points, while junior Cora Keener of Spring Grove placed 15th (180.65) and Palmyra’s Elise Potter, a senior, was 19th (162.60).
Eve Phillips of Waynesboro, a sophomore, finished 13th in the 100 butterfly (57.48). Phillips reached the consolation heat of the 100 freestyle, finishing 11th (52.03).
Leah Leonard, a senior from South Western, finished 27th in the 100 butterfly (24.99). Owen Cromer of South Western, a sophomore, was 20th in the 50 freestyle (21.61). He also was 22nd in the 100 freestyle (47.41).
Dallastown’s 200 medley relay of Lawson Neutzel, Cooper Stiles, Nick Rivera and Noah Krebs placed 20th (1:39.24). The Wildcats' 400 freestyle relay of Noah Krebs, Arijah Anderson, Stiles and Neutzel placed 27th (3:15.77).
The Central York 400 freestyle relay of Jayla Eckert, Ana Tate, Riley Sauder and Maddie Buss placed 11th (3:35.17). Tate ended up 25th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.91). Christian Henry of Central York, a junior, finished 15th in the 200 individual medley (1:56.34).