UNIVERSITY PARK - Hollidaysburg swimming coach Deb Solomon is not a betting woman, but ask her if she thinks Mace Long will go to the state championships in a second event and she'll tell you one thing.
"I am pretty confident he is going to states," said Solomon, who watched Long, a sophomore, finish second on Saturday at the District 6-9 Class AAA championships at Penn State University in the 100- backstroke.
Long, who already qualified for states on Friday in the 100 butterfly, placed second with a school-record time of 53.46. State College's Alex Hillsley won it with a time of 52.80. Based on the results of other swimmers in districts across the state, Solomon will find out this afternoon if her Golden Tiger will make it to states in a second event.
"I believe he is going to get in because I have seen the other times [from around the state] and there are only six kids with faster times than him. The top 16 make it," she said. "He looked really good [Saturday]."
The Tiger boys and girls teams finished second in the team standings, behind State College, but ahead of DuBois, a team that beat Hollidaysburg during the dual-meet season.
Making that possible were the boys 400 freestyle relay team of Long, his brother Colter, Zach Hailer and Matt Crum, who took second (3:22.83). Crum also finished fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:09.56) while Hailer took fifth in the 100 freestyle (50.38). Colter Long was fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.31).
On the girls side, the 400 freestyle relay team of Emily Brown, Alisha Pond, Courtney Noal and Meghan Grassadonia took fourth (4:09.23), while Noal took fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.66) and Grassadonia was fifth (1:17.32). Megan Keefer was sixth in both the 100 freestyle (59.07) and the 100 backstroke (1:05.91). In the 500 freestyle, Tori Landry was fifth (6:0309) followed by Marie Gorman (6:16.96).
"We finished second behind State and ahead of DuBois, and that is without a diver," Solomon said. "We are pretty happy about that. We haven't finished second in a while."
Altoona finished the day with three placewinners. For the girls, the 400 freestyle relay team of Cassie Bradley, Francesca Ferguson, Hannah Jacobs and Ellie Sohmer took fifth (5:00.94), while Anna Bistline was sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:19.44).
On the boys side, the 400 freestyle relay team of Connor Hallinan, Kyle Heasley, Steve Betar and Aaron Cummings took fourth (3:39.61).
"As a total meet, we had 26 personal best performances so I can't complain," Altoona coach Andy Smearman said. "Coming away from that meet with 26 of their fastest times, you can't beat that."
For Central, competing in the Class AA competition, the girls 400 freestyle relay team of Ivy Tomlinson, Emily Reid, Jena Gunnett and Alyssa Clark broke the school record, taking fourth in 4:02.79.
"I thought they could break it, but by four seconds!" Central coach Amanda Herr said. "I was very pleased. They dropped 14 seconds off their time, and they're all juniors so we will have them all back."
Girls: 100 freestyle, Brianna Geist, 11, 1:02.76; Francesca Ferguson, 14, 1:13.12; 100 backstroke, Katie Taylor, 10, 1:20.55; Cassie Bradley, 12, 1:32.78; 100 breaststroke, Ellie Sohmer, 10, 1:29.91.
Boys: 100 freestyle, Hallinan, 8, 54.53; Betar, 14, 56.97; Shawn Hanlon, 15, 57.70; 500 freestyle, Heasley, 9, 5:29.58; Seth Marasco, 12, 5:52.78; 100 backstroke, Matt Morgan, 10, 1:18.75; 100 breaststroke, Curtis Fink, 8, 1:13.68.
Boys: 100 freestyle, Ben Rosser, 8, 54.87; 500 freestyle, Brian Flynn, 8, 5:24.59; 100 backstroke, Kyle Surkovich, 7, 59.50.
Girls: 100 freestyle, Emily Brown, 7, 1:00.47; Meghan Grassadonia, 10, 1:02.55; Rachel Bowser, 12, 1:04.74. 100 backstroke, Alicia Pond, 8, 1:13.83.
Girls: 100 backstroke, Jenna Gunnett, 12, 1:09.18. 100 breaststroke, Samantha Newlin, 16, 1:23.99. 100 freestyle, Alyssa Clark, 10, 1:00.8.
Boys: 100 freestyle, Jan Szasran, 32, 1:01.07. 100 breaststroke, Brock Dodson, 8, 1:07.86; Aaron Kreider, 29, 1:17.33.