The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class AAA Swimming and Diving Championships are only half over, and Pine-Richland High School already has made the trip a success.
The Rams earned silver and bronze medals in Friday’s swimming and diving events, and have a chance to add to the medal count in two more events today at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium in Lewisburg.
Pine-Richland junior Lauren Lamendola came on strong with her last dive in the final to take second and earn the Silver Medal in girls 1-meter diving. It marked the highest finish ever by a Pine-Richland diver since the school moved up to Class AAA competition.
On a fast day in the pool when no WPIAL swimmer won a Gold Medal, Rams sophomore Kristen Murslack captured third in the girls 200 individual medley in 2:02.84 on Friday.
Murslack enters today’s 100-yard breaststroke event as the top-seeded swimmer.
“All in all, it was a real good day for Pine-Richland swimming and diving,” coach Pete Barry said.
Lamendola stood fifth in the 1-meter diving coming out of the semifinals, and needed to make something happen on her last dive during the finals to move up from fourth to second.
“She was the last diver to go off and she needed at least 50 points, and she did it and came away with a second place,” Barry said. “She’s smiling and happy. She’s on cloud nine right now.”
Barry said Lamendola’s performance spoke for itself, considering diving judges from the eastern half of the state had not seen her dive before yesterday.
“For a first-timer to come in and do something like that was impressive, and for the officials who haven’t seen her dive before to recognize her performance, that really says something positive and validates the PIAA officiating,” Barry said. “They’re pretty good.”
Lamendola finished with a 443.60 total behind Gold Medal winner Rachel Kumma (513.95), a senior from Cedar Cliff. A North Carolina State recruit, Kumma missed the PIAA record by four points.
Murslack, who won the WPIAL 200 IM title earlier this month at Pitt, came in third at states behind winner Emily Cameron, a sophomore from Warwick who set a state record in 1:57.74.
Murslack came within an arm length of winning the Silver Medal in the 200 IM. Christina Leander of WC East High School finished second in 2:02.05, eight-tenths of a second ahead of Murslack.
Murslack posted split times of 26.43, 31.04, 36.20 and 29.17.
“Kristen swam great all day. The (final) race came down to the last length, and the other girl just touched her out,” Barry said. “It was a good swim.”
Also in Friday’s competition, sophomore Allison Murslack finished 26th in the girls 200-yard freestyle in 1:56.68, with splits of 27.10, 29.07, 30.28 and 30.23.
“Allison swam well, and had a lifetime low, but her time just wasn’t good enough to make it back (to the finals),” Barry said.
Pine-Richland sophomore Dominic Giordano competes today in the boys 1-meter diving event. He captured the Bronze Medal and qualified for the states at the WPIAL championships on Feb. 26 at Pine-Richland Natatorium.
Lamendola was coming off a Gold Medal performance at the WPIAL Class AAA girls diving competition with a 421.65 total.
Lamendola and Giordano also are coached by Pine-Richland diving coach Maria Misenhelter in addition to working with the Pitt Aquatic Club.