Strong medal haul at WPIAL meet boosts expectations for Franklin Regional swimmers

Saturday, March 18, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Franklin Regional swimming coach Vic Santoro went into the PIAA championships at Bucknell University on March 17 and 18 with great expectations that his team would add to its collection of medals.

That’s because he was pleased with how they performed in the WPIAL Class 3A championships.

The boys and girls 200 medley and 200 free relay teams earned medals at WPIALs.

The boys finished sixth in the WPIAL team race.

Aiden Bunker placed second in the 200 IM in a time of 1:53.33 and seventh in the 100 breaststroke at 58.56.

Holden Thomas placed fourth in the 50 free 21.76 and third in the 100 backstroke at 50.45.

Two relays teams — the 200 medley and 200 freestyle — placed third and earned a trip to the state championship. The 200 medley swam a 1:39.24 and the 200 freestyle finished in 1:25.68.

Joining Bunker and Thomas on the relay teams are junior Ben Holm and senior Jason Tosh.

Senior Paityn Blakley finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke and was the only individual girl to move on to states. She met the qualifying time.

The girls 200 medley relay team placed sixth. Others on the relay were senior Allyson Hilty, senior Natalie Eiben and senior Amanda McFaden. Their time was 1:48.85.

“I’m expecting medals, for sure,” Santoro said. “They could be at the top of the podium. They just have to do things right.

“This is what we’ve worked for all season. They’ll remember this all their lives. This is a special time.”

Not only are medals on the line, Santoro said swimmers can earn All-American honors if they meet the right standards.

“It’s been a great season so far,” Santoro said. “Hopefully a great performance at Bucknell will make it even better.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at


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