---- — By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MUNCY -- The Lewisburg Gators had their work cut out for them.
Lewisburg trailed Wellsboro by nearly 200 points in the combined standings heading into the second and final day of competition at the Greater Susquehanna Valley Aquatics League Summer Championships at R.J. Patrizio Pool in Muncy.
With a furious rally from the younger members of its program, Lewisburg wiped away the large deficit and overtook Wellsboro, 1,593-1,490 to lead the combined men and women standings through the Boys 9-10 100 free relay.
The meet was postponed after the relay with 16 events remaining on the schedule because of inclement weather. According to meet manager Jeff Nolter, organizers are deciding whether to continue with the championships or suspend the event where it stands, making the current standings final.
The Gators also led in the Girls championship over Wellsboro and sat in second place in the Boys division, trailing Lock Haven.
Definitely not a league debut to sneeze at.
No lead that large can be erased in one event but Lewisburg started to chip away at its deficit from the opening whistle on Saturday. A second-place finish in the girls eight-and-under 100 medley relay and a win in the Girls 9-10 100 medley relay set the Gators off on the right foot on the second day.
The older swimmers in the Gators program showed their prowess in longer races on the first day of competition. Adon Shapiro raced to the wall in the 200 free and his teammates outpaced Selinsgrove and Mifflinburg in the 200 medley relay early in the race schedule.
Shapiro's 2:08.80 in the 200 free set a record while the Lewisburg foursome in the 200 medley relay also established the mark to beat in that event.
Rather than running away with wins, Lewisburg had a run of second-place finishes with four in a span of seven events to gain key points for the combined standings, including a runner-up finish in the girls 15-and-over 200 individual medley for Emily Maxwell and a second for Christopher Meng in the Boys 13-14 50 back.
The meet was the inaugural competition for the Greater Susquehanna Valley Aquatics League ,which was formed in 2013 with the merger of the Susquehanna Valley Swimming and Diving League and the Bald Eagle Swim League.
The league allows top swimmers from eight counties and 15 different teams to showcase their talents in the same pool, leading to fast times and many swimmers shaving chunks off of their top times. The variety and quality of the teams in Muncy was evident as many teams touched the wall first to grab maximum points in an event.
"We have some really amazing swimmers in this region," Nolter said.
In addition to Lewisburg, Selinsgrove put together a solid meet from all of its swimmers, sitting in the top six in the boys, girls and combined standings. Selinsgrove held off Mifflinburg by 17.5 points for sixth in the boys standings.
Mifflinburg turned in a consistent performance with no score lower than ninth place in any of the three standings.