Franklin Regional boys swim relay takes 5th at states

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | 10:44 PM

The Franklin Regional boys 200 medley relay fashioned the best swim in program history at the WPIAL Class 3A championships March 3 at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

They clocked a time of 1 minute, 33.50 seconds that day, and it was the standard the quartet of sophomore Holden Thomas, senior Owen Holm, and juniors Aiden Bunker and Jason Tosh hoped to better at Wednesday’s PIAA championships at Bucknell University.

The Panthers nearly reached that goal as they swam a time of 1:33.72 and placed fifth overall in a deep championship-finals heat that saw Upper St. Clair take third (1:32.66) and Hempfield finish seventh (1:35.24).

“We did pretty good, but I think we could’ve done even better,” said Tosh, the relay’s anchor.

“Our time was good, and I also thought the competition pushed us. We just went out there and gave it our all. Fifth place in the state isn’t too bad. It’s a great feeling. I love it.”

The FR relay’s finals performances was a top highlight for Westmoreland swimmers in a first-day finals experience not soon to be forgotten by the swimmers, coaches, spectators and PIAA officials.

Issues with the timing system plagued the PIAA boys finals, which began close to an hour past the original start time.

Several additional delays stalled the swimming as PIAA officials worked to correct the problem. They also spent time working out placement problems in certain events but ultimately were able to correct those issues.

The delays pushed the start time for the girls events to 8:05 from an original start time of 6:50.

The Franklin Regional and Hempfield 200 medley relays sat on the medals podium for nearly 15 minutes while placement issues for the championship heat were corrected.

The Spartans foursome of seniors Jacob Dzurica and Hunter Cooper and juniors Liam Randolph and Dom Falcon finished with a time of 1:35.24, slightly higher than their prelim time (1:35.06).

But they were able to bump up one spot from eighth after the prelims. The relay entered the PIAA meet seeded 11th.

The top 16 finishers in each boys and girls event Wednesday returned for either the consolation (ninth through 16th) or championship finals (first through eighth).

Randolph, Cooper, Falcon and senior Ryan Murtha teamed up to give Hempfield a second relay medal as the group finished eighth in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:26.44. It was 12 one-hundredths of a second better than their seed time (1:26.56).

Falcon won the consolation final of the 50 free with a time of 21.07. It surpassed his prelim time of 21.53 and was better than the eighth-place finisher (21.15) in the championship heat.

Bunker swam individually in the 200 IM and placed second in the consolation finals and 10th overall with a time of 1:53.94, more than a second better than his prelim time (1:55.20) and faster than two swimmers in the championship heat.

Day 2 of the PIAA Class 3A championships kicks off Thursday morning with prelim swims in the 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay. The boys prelims begin at 7:50, with the girls to follow at 10:25.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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