H.S. SWIMMING: Shamokin's Carpenter earns District 4 gold
WILLIAMSPORT - Shamokin's Samantha Carpenter had all the pressure on her.
No. 1 seeds always do.
But it didn't seem to bother the Indians' junior as she took a lead early on in the 100-yard breaststroke and never looked back at the District 4 swimming championships Thursday at Williamsport High School.
It's a step up the podium for Carpenter, who finished second in the event last year, and now her attention goes to the
PIAA state meet at Bucknell University in two weeks. It'll be her third appearance in three years at the state meet.
"I felt really good," Carpenter said. "I jumped out and I felt myself shoot through the water. I kind of knew I had it from the start from the feel of it and I was really just going for time. I was so happy with my results."
Carpenter, who finished the race in 1:07.45, was almost five whole seconds in front of Wellsboro's Emilie Kramer. Line Mountain's Lauren Giordani finished eighth in the event.
Carpenter was joined on the medal stand by boys teammate Josh Scheuren, who followed up a sixth place finish in the 200-yard free Wednesday with a sixth in the 500 free Thursday.
"I swam great times and dropped three seconds in each event," Scheuren said. "I was going for the school record, but three seconds off and I'm not going to complain. I was trying to help my team get points and cheer them on to get good times and medal."
Also getting a medal was Southern Columbia's Jake Ryan, who swims with Bloomsburg's team. Ryan finished second in the 100-yard backstroke and that helped the Panthers take the team title with 364 points. Second was Athens with 250. Shamokin finished 13th with 35 points.
Ryan clinched a ticket to Bucknell on Wednesday as part of a pair of winning relay teams, but now has to wait until next week to see if his individual time in the backstroke is good enough to qualify as well.
"It was amazing. In the medley, we all stepped up and did our part to get the district record," Ryan said. "In the free relay, we were ranked third and we came back and won.
"Individually, I did what I had to do. I tried my best and got my best time. I'm going to keep practicing, getting better and hope for a chance to go to states."
Carpenter's third trip to the state meet, where she finished 18th in the breaststroke last year, represents another progression in her battle to return to her freshman form after sustaining a shoulder injury.
"Sam did amazing," Shamokin swimming coach Jessica Wolfgang said. "It was her best time in two years. She was only four one-hundredths of a second off her best time, which is our school record.
"She was injured for the past few years so for her to come back and have all this strength is a big accomplishment for her."
The injury has cut down on Carpenter's versatility and in order to stay in the pool at all she focuses on the breaststroke. With all the laps under her belt, it's easy to see why she glided to victory.
"She primarily sticks to the breaststroke in the medley and her individual race and we don't try to push her to do sprinting or other strokes because of her injury," Wolfgang said. "She's been trying to get back to where she was freshman year. She's done a lot of work and a lot of physical therapy. This year, she was able to practice a lot more, go up in yardage and do a lot more in practice to help her to get to this point.
"She works so hard and has such a drive. She knows she can do it. She knows her limits and knows what she's capable of."
And Carpenter is looking forward to a return to Bucknell.
"I'm so excited and I feel like I'm going to do pretty well this year, well I'm hoping," Carpenter said.
Central Columbia won the girls team championship with 421 points, followed by Bloomsburg with 280. Shamokin finished tied for 10th with 88 points, while Mount Carmel, which didn't have any swimmers in Thursday's portion of the split meet, finished 17th.