UNIVERSITY PARK - All through the regular season Mifflin County Swimming coach Connie Welch stressed the importance of teamwork, and watched as her team became one of the closest in her time as coach.
It wasn't surprising to her, then, when her boys and girls relay teams did the best of all Mifflin County events in the opening of the District 6 Class AAA regional swimming championships Friday afternoon at the Penn State Natatorium.
Though there were no swimmers who qualified for next weekend's PIAA state championships, there were some top three finishes for the Huskies.
"I have a lot of kids that are going to make it up on the podium today," Welch said "What I would summarize as our highlights today is our relay teams. First of all, the girls 200-meter medley relay team finished third. They also took three seconds off their relay time which is a great, great event."
"Also the boys 200-meter relay team improved on their time. They won't go to the podium but they improved their time. They also just got done in swimming in the 200-meter relay and improved their time as well."
Coming into Friday's competition, senior Sarah Bonson and sophomore Evan Becker were the only two Mifflin County swimmers to qualify for districts in every individual event (eight events in all). Teammate senior Megan Becker was just shy by one event. Athletes were only able to swim in two individual events at PIAA competitions.
There are a total of eight Mifflin County swimmers who qualified in an individual event (one or more): Megan Becker, Sarah Bonson, Jenna Kile, Seth Barger, Evan Becker, Zack Bonson, Drew Kline and Shane Whalen. These and the rest of the swimmers listed will be competing in the relay team events.
"They have really come together more as a team this year than I've ever seen in all my years of coaching," Welch said. "If I had to summarize the season it would have to be all about team."
Leading the way on the girls side was the 200 girls medley relay team that finished with a third place time of 2:07.54. The team consisted of Rachel Stimeling, Bonson, Becker and Kile.
Bonson finished fifth in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:21.2 while also placing a fifth place nod in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 1:05.5.
Becker finished her day of individual competition, placing fourth in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 26.06.
In the last relay of the afternoon, the girls 200-meter freestyle team - consisting of Allison Besch, Kaitlyn Eckley, Stimeling and Kile - finished in fourth place with a time of 2:05.04.
On the boys side, the 200-meter boys medley relay team featuring Zack Bonson, Drew Kline, Evan Becker and Seth Barger led the way with a fourth place finish, posting a time of 2:03.44.
Barger also competed in the 200-meter freestyle where he placed 10th with a time of 2:13.79.
Teammate Bonson also took a third-place finish in individual competition as he finished with a time of 2:26.06 in the 200-meter individual medley.
Also posting a top-10 finish in the 200-medley was Becker, placing a sixth-place finish with a time of 2:15.08.
Finally on the afternoon, the 200-meter boys freestyle relay team ended the first day of competition with a fifth-place finish posting a time of 1:46.51. The relay team consisted of Barger, Shane Whalen, Bonson, and Becker.
Mifflin County will be back at it Saturday afternoon as they compete in day two of the District 6 Class AAA Regional Tournament.