LEWISBURG - Last year at the PIAA Class AAA state high school swimming and diving championships, Hollidaysburg freshman Mace Long finished 32nd out of 32 in the 100 butterfly. He made a pretty big improvement in his sophomore year on Wednesday.
Swimming at Bucknell University, Long, though he did not medal or earn all-state status, finished 21st out of 32 with a time of 53.36. It was his second fastest school time ever in the event.
"I think it was exciting, and there are only seven underclassmen in the field," Hollidaysburg coach Deb Solomon said of the 25 seniors who swam in the event.
The top time turned in during the preliminary round was by Penn-Trafford's Christian McCurdy with a 49.18. The top 16 swimmers made it to the finals and earned all-state status. The cutoff was Great Valley's Brendan Salvadore with a 52.38.
"We would have liked him to go faster, but he did move up," Solomon said. "His time was faster than last year. That is a positive. We're going to focus on the 100 backstroke now."
Solomon believes Long got off to a shaky start because of how long it took for the race to begin.
"[The officials] had the guys on the blocks, then they had them stand up, then they talked to them, then they waited a few more moments, then they called them down," she explained. "They held them up, then they sent them. Mace is used to getting up there and going. If you looked at the other times of the other swimmers, you could see the same thing happened to them."
Long swims this morning at 11:30 in the 100 backstroke.