Nine swimmers earn PSAC berths in first meet of season

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 at 6:22 PM

Nine swimmers posted PSAC qualifying times between the men and women in their first meet of the season at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Friday.

Junior Yana Miletska earned three qualifying times herself, including a win in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 29.77 seconds. Her efforts came despite the women falling to the Crimson Hawks, 133-71. Her other two qualifying times came in second-place finishes in the 200 IM and butterfly events.

“It’s super important, not just for me but for the team, that I know the events I’m going to put her in [that] she’s going to compete,” Head Coach Chris Rhodes said of Miletska. “That also opens the door up for some other swimmers, where I could put them in some opportunities to see how they’re going to respond.”

Katelyn Kopacko earned the only other win for the women, as she topped the 50 freestyle with a PSAC-qualifying time of 24.44 seconds. She was the lead leg of the women’s 200 freestyle relay team that placed second by a margin of just .22 seconds.

Casey Tokarski also earned a spot in the conference meet in the 200 backstroke with a 2:14.17 second place finish. She led the 200 medley relay team to a second place finish as well. Kara Miller was the only other Fighting Scot to earn a second-place finish, as she completed the 500 freestyle in 5:40.42.

“Probably one of the surprise swims was Casey Tokarski’s 200 back,” Rhodes said. “She hit her time where she was last year at the conference meet, so she’s off and running.”

The men also fell to Indiana, 114.5-80.5, despite six men qualifying for the conference meet in seven events.

Marcus Grosso led the way with PSAC-qualifying wins in the 200 freestyle and butterfly event, with times of 1:46.54 and 1:59.88, respectively. He also won the 200 medley relay along with Nick Bradford, Jackson Bangert and Tommy Horan with a time of 1:37.77.

Bradford, who qualified for the conference meet in the 200 IM and earned a pair of second-place solo finishes, said the team trained harder during the off-season than last year.

“We have been training pretty hard the last couple of weeks. We started this year off with a lot harder training than last year,” Bradford said. “Obviously, we have a smaller men’s team than last year, but we actually competed very well.”

Bangert made his day interesting with a solo win and a new personal record. He finished first in the 100 freestyle with a time of 49.82 seconds, just .01 seconds faster than the PSAC threshold. Horan, meanwhile, finished in a tie for second just .14 seconds behind Bangert.

Bangert also celebrated a personal record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.82. Horan won that event with a 22.24 mark, good for PSAC qualification.

“Since we were so tired [from practices] it’s good to qualify so early, so then we can focus on training the rest of the year too,” Bradford said of the athletes who qualified Friday. “It’s really exciting to see how fast we are just to start off the year.”

Michael Kocher placed second in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:01.59 to earn his way into the conference meet, and Caleb Dankle finished second in the 500 freestyle in 5:09.94.

The men rounded out their day with a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, as the team of Bangert, Kocher, Nathan Spaid and Dankle finished in 1:36.79.

“We’ve got some good guys,” Bradford said. “We don’t have a lot of guys but we have really good talent this year. Everyone’s pretty good. We’re looking for some school records for the end of the year on the girl’s and guy’s side. It should be a very good year.”

Both the men and women fell to 0-1 to open their season as Indiana’s women improved to 2-0 and their men evened their young record up to 1-1. 

The Fighting Scots next compete on Nov. 2 when they host Bloomsburg University inside McComb Fieldhouse. The Huskies compete in their first two meets of their season this weekend.

“They’re the conference runners-up the past couple of years — very well coached, a lot of good talent,” Rhodes said of Bloomsburg. “These are the people that we want to compete against...I want to see us race them the way we raced IUP.”

Christopher Rosato Jr. can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

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