Norwin’s Tulenko picks up pair of medals at PIAA swim meet

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | 7:58 PM


Ethan Tulenko turned a double play Wednesday at the PIAA Class AAA swimming and diving championships at Bucknell.

The Norwin senior swam in the finals of both the 50-yard freestyle and the 200 free, and he brought home third- and fifth-place medals.

“I was really happy with both swims, getting best times,” Tulenko said. “That’s all I can ask for.”

Tulenko earned bronze in the 50 free, finishing with a time of 20.67 seconds, two hundredths of a second quicker than his fourth-place preliminary time.

“I started out my career in the 50, and to end it with that swim and do so well, it was pretty special,” said Tulenko, who returned to states after not swimming in high school last year. He was 26th in the 50 free as a sophomore in 2018.

Tulenko also was part of history in the 50 free finals heat as State College senior Matt Brownstead, a Virginia commit, set a National Federation of High Schools record with at time of 19.24 seconds.

He lowered his own state-record time in the event, a 19.55 recorded last year. The previous national record — 19.43 set by Vladimir Morozov from California — stood since 2010.

“Matt is a really good swimmer, and he also is a really nice guy,” Tulenko said. “It was nice to watch his technique and see how powerful he is.”

Tulenko started the finals session with a fifth-place time of 1:39.56 in the 200 free.

“A lot of people don’t favor swimming (two individual events in one day) because they are so close, but I’ve definitely done a lot of training in both club and high school to get ready for that,” he said. “Once you are done with one race, you get ready with the right mindset for the next.”

Joining Tulenko in the championship finals was the Franklin Regional boys 200 free relay of seniors Payne Rizzer and Andrew Harris, junior Max Wang and sophomore Owen Holm.

The WPIAL runner-up and school-record holder entered the finals as the No. 8 seed, and it knocked nearly a second off its prelim time to finish seventh overall (1:25.77). The finals time was just four hundredths of a second off the school record (1:25.73) set at WPIALs.

“These guys have worked hard all year together,” Franklin Regional coach Vic Santoro said. “Two of them will be back next year, which is nice. I couldn’t be happier for them. Now, we’re just going to cross our fingers and hope for All-American (status). They’re in consideration for it, so we’ll see what happens with the rest of the country.”

The Hempfield boys 200 free relay of juniors Anthony Peila, Will Falcon and Brian Wilson and sophomore Hunter Cooper just missed the championship finals by 13 hundredths of a second, taking ninth in the prelims.

As the top seed for the consolation heat, the Spartans quartet bested the competition to finish ninth in a time of 1:26.90.

The Class AAA championships continue Thursday morning with the boys and girls preliminary swims in the 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay.

The boys consolation and championship finals will be at 6 p.m. with the girls finals set for 8:30.

The girls diving competition will be at 2:30 p.m.

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

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