Diamonds, Deadlifts, and Yardsticks
- March 29, 2023
Mallory Pardoe touched the wall, quickly looked up as her teammate Elisa Dinicola jumped into the water, and simply waited as the rest of the 400 free relay was completed. Her teammates, Isabelle Griswold, and Lydia Smith along with Dinicola excelled through the race, taking on the best teams District 2 had to offer. When
Mallory Pardoe touched the wall, quickly looked up as her teammate Elisa Dinicola jumped into the water, and simply waited as the rest of the 400 free relay was completed.
Her teammates, Isabelle Griswold, and Lydia Smith along with Dinicola excelled through the race, taking on the best teams District 2 had to offer. When the race was completed, Pardoe and company could call themselves District Champions. They also could now call themselves District record holders as their time of 3:40.37 passed Wyoming Valley West’s 2008 time of 3:43.55.
“We were pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of swimmers exceeded our expectations—and some by a large margin,” Williamsport coach Nate Witmer said. “One of the most rewarding things to see as a coach is the joy an athlete gets from exceeding goals and achieving times they thought were out of reach. We had a few of those, so that was great.”
Pardoe, a freshman, opened the race and got the team off to a quick start. Her split time was good. She was quickly followed by Dinicola, who kept pace with a split time matching Pardoe’s. Griswold posted a 54.49 and Smith, who also won the 50 free, finished her lap with a 55.27. The group was a whole four seconds faster than Delaware Valley’s group, which posted a 3:45.88.
Williamsport’s girls and boys both finished second at the meet, putting a bow on an outstanding season by both teams. The girls opened with 11 consecutive wins before dropping a meet to State College.
“We were thrilled with the kids’ performances and thought the team did awesome overall,” Witmer said. “The team as a whole certainly exceeded our expectations.”
Prior to the group of girls setting a District 2 meet record, Pardoe found herself on the brink of setting another as she swam the 100 fly.
Pardoe entered with the hopes of taking the top spot and advancing to the state meet, but when she reached out to touch the wall, she became more than just the District 2 Champion. Pardoe finished with a 58.12 to claim the first of two District records.
Williamsport’s swimmers took six top overall finishes in the two-day event, which will give both teams plenty of confidence as individuals and relays prepare for States.
Smith gave her coaches a scare when she slipped while diving into the pool for the 50 free. Each coach let a small “oh no” as Smith recovered from the small slip.
As the race progressed, her coaches started to relax as she excelled through the race to post a 25.85 for a top finish. It was the first of the meet for Williamsport.
“The 50 free is always one of the more intense races,” Witmer said. “The pressure is dialed up, and even minor errors can cost a swimmer the race. She was off to a bad start in the biggest meet of the season, in the worst possible event. It takes a lot of heart and determination to make up that kind of ground in such a short race.”
Smith did get the win. She was just as fast in the final lap of the 400 free relay, which she helped set a district record in. The girls also won the 200 free relay with a time of 1:40.82.
The groups of swimmers performed well, won multiple medals throughout the two-day meet, and finished second on both sides of the meet. With such a great showing, Witmer will now get his remaining team and relays ready for Bucknell.
“In the relatively short time between Districts and States, we have been focusing on sharpening our stroke fundamentals, getting in a good place mentally, and just trying to have fun,” Witmer said. “The swimming season is long, with most kids having been in the pool two hours a day for six days a week for almost six months. Since we are taking a smaller group to states than we practice with during the normal season, it’s easier to work on team cohesion.”
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