Swimming to Success at States


Courtesy of Mark Pynes

Swimmers Ally Koehle, Madison Watschke, and Jade Castro celebrating after winning the 200 yard medley relay for the first time in school history.

Grace Levy, Staff Writer

Starting off the state meet powerfully, the girls 200 yard medley relay team – comprised of senior Jade Castro, sophomore Madison Watschke, senior Ally Koehle, and freshman Molly Workman – took gold in the very first event. 

This gold was a record-breaking moment for State High swim, as they not only broke the school record in the event for the second time this season but they also earned gold in the event for the first time in the team’s history. Setting the tone for the rest of the meet, the swimmers were feeling ready to achieve more of their goals. 

After an impressive season, followed by a strong PIAA District 6 meet, the State High swim team looked to close their season off with a bang at the PIAA State swim meet. The event took place from Mar. 17 to Mar. 18 at Bucknell University. In total, 15 swimmers competed in the final meet of the season. 

Madison Watschke described her emotions throughout her events, including the gold medal-winning medley relay. “I was pretty nervous heading into my events, but I had to remind myself of the training and how I was prepared for this, and then afterwards I felt kind of relieved and accomplished,” Watschke said.

Jade Castro and Madison Watschke later swam the 200 yard IM, placing 3rd and 7th overall. Castro set a new school record in the event.

Just following, Molly Workman swam the 50 yard freestyle, placing 3rd and also setting a new school record. To close out the first day, Molly Workman, Madison Watschke, Kelly Brownstead, and Jade Castro swam the 200 yard freestyle relay, placing 2nd overall along with setting yet another school record.

Ty Uhlig, a senior on the team, explained the energy at the meet. “[The atmosphere was] a very upbeat, live atmosphere. I feel like it was the most ready we were during the season,” Uhlig said.

Grace Carrington, a freshman, elaborated: “Everyone was really excited to be there.”

For the boys events, the boys started off with the 200 yard medley relay – made up of seniors Ty Uhlig and Shawn Erdley, sophomore Sam Huggins, and freshman Leo Garlicki – placing 7th overall. In the 200 yard freestyle, Sam Huggins placed third, while in the 200 yard IM, Shawn Erdley placed 6th. 

On day two of the meet, spirits were still just as high as the swimmers looked to add to their wins and best times from the previous day. The meet started off strong with Molly Workman placing 3rd in the 100 yard freestyle, followed by a 2nd place finish from Jade Castro in the 100 yard backstroke, both setting new team records. Sam Huggins swam the 500 yard freestyle and placed 2nd. 

The end of the season brings time for reflection and the swimmers thought about what is next for them. The swimmers continue to train and swim competitively in the offseason, to ensure that next year’s season is just as successful. The team includes many graduating seniors, who will be swimming competitively at a range of colleges and universities. Seniors include Ty Uhlig, Lydia Geiger, Jade Castro, Shawn Erdley, Ally Koehle, Meredith Sulman, Maggie Huggins, and Kate Doucette. These seniors have contributed immensely to the success and strong environment of the team, and next year’s group of upperclassmen hopes to continue in their footsteps. 

“It’s sad because a lot of our seniors are moving on, but I think that gives our juniors a space to fill in those big shoes, and it gives the rising junior class a chance to shine and kind of help push all the freshmen coming in just to keep going with one another,” Watschke said.

With the girls team going undefeated throughout the season, and the boys team losing only two meets, State College’s success at the State meet comes as no surprise and serves as a thrilling end to a thrilling season. This year’s state meet was filled with many podium finishes, school records, and an exciting moment in the team’s history. The future looks bright as the team finishes this season and begins working toward the next one.

The State High Swim and Dive team takes a photo together before heading to the PIAA State meet at Bucknell University. (Courtesy of Jamie and Aaron Workman)