Marian’s Berlitz is top swimmer
Marian’s Danny Berlitz swims to a gold medal in the District 11 Class 2A 500 freestyle on Saturday. For a video go to www.tnonline.com. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS.
ALLENTOWN — Danny Berlitz did it again — and again.
The Marian swimmer won two gold medals at the District 11 Swimming Championships held at Parkland High School over the weekend to give him eight gold medals in eight individual events in his high school career. Both of his gold medals also came with new District 11 record times, breaking his previous records in both the 200 IM and 500 freestyle. The performance also led him to his second straight Dennis A. McGinley Award as the event’s top male swimmer.
Berlitz swam the 500 in 4:30.41 to break his old record of 4:35.13, which he set in last year’s district meet. The time was just behind the pool record time of 4:30.10 that his buddy, Sam Magnan of Freedom, holds. Looking back over his eight gold medals, Berlitz holds the one that he won Friday in the 200 IM when he set both a new district record and a pool record as the most prestigious.
“That was probably the best race that I’ve ever had, it was a meet record and pool record and was faster than what I went in states last year,” said Berlitz, who swam a 1:49.97 at states last year in the IM and a 1:49.81 in this year’s district meet.
As for the McGinley Award, named after the architect of the District 11 swimming championship, it was something that the University of Michigan bound senior had his sights set on.
“It was definitely a goal to win this because power points are geared more toward sprinters, and the 200 IM and the 500 aren’t exactly sprints, so it was definitely a goal to come in and see how many power points I could score. To win this two years in a row is definitely very special,” Berlitz said.
Maddie Dando, a Marian sophomore, nearly avoided a wardrobe malfunction for the second day in a row to take gold in the 100 backstroke. On Friday, her tech suit tore and forced her to go to a backup suit just before swimming in the 200 IM, where she finished second. On Saturday, her new tech suit also started to tear, but held up long enough for her to take gold with a time of 59.47, a full two seconds ahead of her closest competitor.
“It feels great,” said Dando with a broad smile. “It feels even better than the one from last year. Last year, I was coming in as a freshman and I didn’t really know what to expect, but this year, I thought that I had something to defend and to show that I could do this and that I wasn’t just a freshman who had a good meet last year. I got to watch my big brother win through high school, and it was great to compete this year, and I felt great in the water.”
After finishing second in the 200 freestyle on Friday night, Panther Valley freshman Erika Zimmerman added another silver medal to what will likely become a solid collection of medals over the coming years. Zimmerman finished with a time of 5:22.10, just ahead of teammate Jacqui Kokindo, a sophomore.
“I put more work into it this season, and really wanted to perform better here than I did last year,” said Kokindo. “I guess it was just that I dedicated myself and focused more on improving my scores from last year.”
A third Panther Valley swimmer, sophomore Emily Newton, finished second in the 100 breaststroke, just .49 seconds behind gold medal winner Gianna Farina. Northern Lehigh’s Ben Lehman took bronze in the 100 backstroke.
In the team competition, the Tamaqua boys team finished seventh and the Lady Blue Raiders finished eighth. Blue Mountain swept the team competition in both the boys and girls ranks.
Day 2 Swimming Results
100 Freestyle - 1. Sarah Bobeck (Salisbury) 53.56, 2. Kylie Tohill (Pottsville) 55.52, 3. Olivia Haas (Blue Mountain) 56.04, 4. Anna Shoudt (Moravian Academy) 56.48, 15. Shannon Dougherty (Palmerton) 1:01.45, 18. Nicole Aguero-Ramirez (Tamaqua) 1:02.24.
500 Freestyle - 1. Katherine Sarnes (Blue Mountain) 5:18.54, 2. Erika Zimmerman (Panther Valley) 5:22.10, 3. Jacqui Kokinda (Panther Valley) 5:34.26, 4. Sara Zimmerman (Blue Mountain) 5:35.63, 7. Madelyn Jones (Tamaqua) 6:05.87, 12. Sarah Maue (Tamaqua) 6:11.82, 13. Annikka Stangil (Northwestern) 6:15.51.
100 Backstroke - 1. Maddie Dando (Marian) 59.47, 2. Mallorie Dukmen (Blue Mountain) 1:01.63, 3. Rylee Bolinsky (North Schuylkill) 1:03.12, 4. Grace Shucavage (ACC), 6. Brianna Dumond (Tamaqua) 1:05.79, 21. Chloe Diekman (Panther Valley) 1:14.25.
100 Breaststroke - 1. Gianna Farina (Notre Dame-GP) 1:07.14, 2. Emily Newton (Panther Valley) 1:07.63, 3. Taleah Ruben (Pottsville) 1:08.77, 4. Amanda Svetz (ACC) 1:11.09, 8. Kayla Sherry (Tamaqua) 1:13.85, 16. Sarah Maue (Tamaqua) 1:19.39, 22. Hailey Toth (Tamaqua) 1:26.25, 24. Maura Walker (Tamaqua) 1:27.57.
400 Freestyle Relay - 1. Blue Mountain 3:46.82, 2. Salisbury 3:50.51, 3. Pottsville 3:53.54, 4. Moravian Academy 3:55.74, 8. Tamaqua (N. Aguero-Ramirez, K. Sherry, S. Maue, B. Dumond) 4:12.84.
100 Freestyle - 1. Brenek Strawn (Bangor) 47.13, 2. Ryan Schreffler (Nativity) 47.99, 3. Dylan Schreffler (Nativity) 48.98, 4. Nicholas Caldwell (Palisades) 49.24, 8. Carson Allen (Palmerton) 50.86, 27. Zeno Zukovich (Tamaqua) 1:01.02.
500 Freestyle - 1. Danny Berlitz (Marian) 4:30.41, 2. Ty Rabenstein (Blue Mountain) 4:46.84, 3. Zaidian Van Orden (Pottsville) 4:57.95, 4. Zachery Hepler (North Schuylkill) 5:16.41, 10. Caleb Knepper (Panther Valley) 5:44.68.
100 Backstroke - 1. Zach Turnitza (Pottsville) 53.74, 2. Nathaniel Powers (Blue Mountain) 55.12, 3. David LaBarre (Pen Argyl) 55.13, 4. Daniel Hayes (Pen Argyl) 55.63, 13. Liam Leonard (Marian) 1:09.08, 17. Ian Machay (Tamaqua) 1:14.53.
100 Breaststroke - 1. Francesco D’Avella (Notre Dame-GP) 1:00.11, 2. Ronald Farina (Notre Dame-GP) 1:01.76, 3. Ben Lehman (Northern Lehigh) 1:03.10, 4. Daniel Keats (Saucon Valley) 1:04.54, 12. Alexander Barron (Tamaqua) 1:15.34.
400 Freestyle Relay - 1. Blue Mountain 3:19.16, 2. Moravian Academy 3:25.10, 3. Saucon Valley 3:26.03, 4. North Schuylkill 3:35.85, 7. Tamaqua (A. Barron, N. Kovalchick, G. Hartney, Z. Zukovich) 4:17.41.
Girls - 1. Blue Mountain 336.5, 2. Allentown Central Catholic 309.5, 3. Pottsville 256.5, 4. Salisbury 209, 8. Tamaqua 155.
Boys - 1. Blue Mountain 366, 2. Pottsville 299.5, 3. Moravian Academy 195, 4. Saucon Valley 188.5, 7. Tamaqua 103.