Fox Chapel’s Manelis, Skirboll earn silver at PIAA swimming/diving championships
By: Michael Love
Saturday, March 16, 2019 | 11:20 PM
LEWISBURG — David Manelis wanted to move up the ladder during Saturday’s PIAA Class AAA boys diving championships at Bucknell.
The Fox Chapel sophomore placed 10th last year, and this time around, he had designs on improving from his ninth seed.
Manelis, the fourth-place finisher at WPIALs three weeks ago, put together an 11-dive meet that played out to a silver medal.
“I was so comfortable with having that experience from last year,” Manelis said. “I was just enjoying this meet. Everything was coming together. I wasn’t nervous. I was just confident the whole time.”
Manelis followed eventual state champion Brendan McCourt, a junior from Emmaus in District 11, for the three-dive final round.
When McCourt executed his final dive, Manelis joined the others in the natatorium in applause for McCourt’s efforts.
“It was amazing watching him,” Manelis said. “He’s such a great diver. I felt good for him every time he did a great dive.”
Competition between Manelis and his teammate, senior Jonah Cagley, was tight throughout.
Manelis held a 10-point lead on Cagley for second place through the first cut, but Cagley pulled to within five one-hundredths of a point heading to the final three dives.
Cagley, who won his third WPIAL title last month and finished third at states the past two years, finished fifth with 482.10 points.
“I didn’t have my best meet or my worst meet,” Cagley said. “I just went out and dove the best that I could. I was really happy for Brendan and David and everyone else. It was a really strong and competitive meet.”
When the boys diving gave way to the girls swimming finals, Zoe Skirboll had the chance to add to the 200-yard individual medley championship she won Friday.
The Fox Chapel freshman raced Butler junior Laura Goettler to the wire in the 100 breaststroke, and Goettler won with a time of 1 minute, 1.13 seconds, only a tenth of a second ahead of Skirboll.
“I knew it was going to be a tight race, for sure,” Skirboll said. “Laura is amazingly fast. I am lucky to be able to race a great competitor like her. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Skirboll also was a part of Friday’s 200 medley relay with juniors Grace Gackenbach and Leia Ross and sophomore Vivian Shao that finished second in its consolation finals heat and 10th overall.
The quartet returned Saturday for the 400 free relay and placed 17th (3:35.95), missing the consolation finals by nine one-hundredths of a second.
“This was an amazing experience, especially being up here with my teammates, coaches and my family,” Skirboll said. “They were cheering for me the whole way. We just came together so well again in the relays. I’m just so proud of everything we accomplished this year.”
Plum senior Devan Taylor wrapped up her high school career in the consolation finals of the 100 breast. She hoped to go faster than her school-record time of 1:04.13 and move up from 10th after the preliminaries.
The James Madison recruit ended up swimming nearly the same time in the consolation finals – 1:04.60 – that she did in the preliminaries and at WPIALs (1:04.59), and she finished 10th.
“You go to states and hope to drop time or at least stay consistent from WPIALs,” Plum coach Shawn Haupt said. “For her, it was almost an identical race, even down to her splits. I think, given another opportunity, she had it in her to get under 1:04. But you can’t be upset with three consistent times. She was holding strong the whole time, and 10th place is nothing to be disappointed about.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .