By Todd Stanford
The Daily Item
Things got dicey for a moment at the PIAA Class AA Swimming & Diving Championships on Saturday night.
Mifflinburg’s Adriana Grabski was trying to make it to the top of the podium. But the surrounding spots were already filled, and she somehow needed to get to the top of the four-foot high podium. Not to worry, Grabski took one giant step onto the third-place spot and moved to her perch at the very top.
Clearly, this girl had been there before.
Indeed, Grabski earned her sixth PIAA gold medal at Bucknell’s Kinney Natatorium. The Virginia Tech-bound senior came in first in the 100 freestyle with a time of 49.88, finishing just a split second off of her own state-record time set last year (49.57).
“It was a fast race,” said Grabski, who captured the gold in the 50 free Friday night. “Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect. I just tried to go fast and work on my turns. ... I was able to hit the wall where I was supposed to.”
After winning a pair of silver medals her freshman year, Grabski has garnered a pair of gold each of the last three years.
“I was just trying to take in the moment, (this) being my last meet at this level,” she said. “Counting on having four to six more years of swimming, it makes me feel better about the situation.
“Being in the moment now, (the end of my prep career) is just overwhelming. Once I step back from all this, I’m going to hit it hard, I know it.”
Just like in Friday’s 50 freestyle, Grabski had to hold off Geibel Catholic’s talented sophomore, Emily Zimcosky, who took second with a time of 50.52.
“She has great years to come,” Grabski said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing her results.”
The only other Valley swimmer to make it to the championship finals Saturday was Lewisburg junior Caitlin Foley. Foley took third in the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.78.
“I tried to stay relaxed and stay loose,” Foley said. “Sometimes I get really nervous for the backstroke. I just wanted to be loose when I got in the water, and I did that.”
Shamokin’s Samantha Carpenter qualified for the consolation finals in the 100 breaststroke. The junior took third with a time of 1:07.38.
On the boys side, three area athletes were in the pool on the final day. Danville’s Joe Malafronte turned in a personal-best time of 48.12 to win the B main of the 100 free.
“My only goal was to make the B final,” Malafronte said. “This was a really good time drop,” added Malafronte, who swam a 48.54 in the preliminaries.
Only a sophomore, Malafronte — who medaled in the 200 IM Friday night — has two more years to add to his legacy.
“(This) was a lot better than last year,” he said. “So if I keep improving, like I did this year, it’s a positive outlook for next year.”
In the consolation final of the 500 free, Lewisburg junior Adon Shapiro got a strong start. He led at the end of the first full lap and again at the end of the second. But Springfield’s Danny Giampietro caught him on the third lap and pushed ahead to win in 4:44.98. Shapiro had to settle for second with a time of 4:46.72.
“I don’t really plan all that much,” Shapiro said. “I know my pace. A lot of the trouble I had last year with the event was I tried not to go out so fast. This year, I just don’t think about it so much.”
Also Saturday, Southern Columbia’s Jake Ryan competed in the 100 backstroke. Ryan — who won two medals as part of Bloomsburg’s relay teams Friday night — swam a 57.05 and did not qualify for the night session.
Mars High School out of District 7 (the WPIAL) won the AA boys title. Villa Maria Academy (District 1) took home the girls crown.