Derry's Baum garners silver at PIAA championship meet
LEWISBURG — Derry senior Zach Baum said he couldn't complain about his 100-yard butterfly swim at the PIAA boys Class AA championships Thursday at Bucknell University.
Despite not grasping the state title he was looking for — he was the No. 1 seed — his second-place finish of 50.05 seconds bettered his WPIAL-title time (50.29) and is a personal best.
Salisbury senior Daniel Bonge took the top spot with a time of 49.94. It was Baum's second runner-up finish in the 100 fly in as many seasons.
“I felt pretty strong; (Bonge) was just a little bit faster,” Baum said.
Baum said his 100 fly swim gives him a boost and bodes well for Friday's swim in the 100 breaststroke. He heads into that event as the No. 8 seed.
The heavy snowstorm that blanketed the Northeast, including 18 inches that fell on Bucknell, pushed the start of the championships from Wednesday to Thursday and the final day (Class AAA) to Sunday.
The diving championships, originally set to run parallel with the swimming event, now will be held March 25 and 26.
The normal state-championship format, with preliminary heats leading into consolation and championship finals later in the day, was replaced with a WPIAL-style format of a single swim for each individual and relay.
The top eight finishers received medals.
Greensburg Central Catholic senior Mikayla Bisignani capped her PIAA career with a seventh-place finish in the 50 freestyle (24.33).
It was the third state medal in the event for Bisignani, a four-time PIAA qualifier. She was fifth in the 50 in 2015 and fourth last year.
“Every swimmer here has a reason to hold their head up high,” she said. “It's a long haul of a season, and to just be here is an honor. I think on the car ride home it will sink in that it was my last high school meet. It's been a great four years, but it goes so fast.”
Derry senior Allison Brownlee came close to a state medal in the girls 200 freestyle. She swam to 11th in a time of 1:56.08, just 0.21 seconds from eighth place.
Also swimming Thursday was Derry senior Danielle Jellison, who took 15th in the girls 100 butterfly (59.21).
Derry's girls 200 freestyle relay came in 17th (1:41.82)
WPIAL swimmers capturing Class AA state titles Thursday were Highlands' Bailey Bonnett in the girls 200 IM and Ellwood City's Taylor Petrak in the girls 50 free.
Class AA swimming at the PIAA championships continues Friday at 10:45 a.m. with timed final heats for the girls in the 100 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay.
The Class AA boys session, with the same events, is set for 3:30 p.m.
The Class AAA meet will be held Saturday and Sunday.