Swimmers flock to championships, Lock Haven hosts youth event

Some of the more than 260 youth who participated in the 3rd Annual Silver Districts and Novice Championships at Lock Haven University pose for a photo at the Zimmerli Gymnasium. (Photo Provided)

LOCK HAVEN – Competitive and fun swimming is taking hold in Lock Haven, thanks to dedicated parents and voluteers.

More than 260 youth swimmers participated in the 3rd Annual Silver Districts and Novice Championships sponsored by the Lock Haven Area YMCA and held at Zimmerli Gymnasium at Lock Haven University on Feb. 24.

The event is one of just two Silver District meets held in Pennsylvania.

It is the only novice championship held in the Keystone State.

In its third year locally, the event grows every year, organizers said.

Indeed, in 2017 there were 93 swimmers pre-registerd.

This year, approximately 262 swimmers pre-registered, according to Todd Brian, a local parent volunteer and member of the event planning committee.

The day-long meet starts at 9 a.m. and goes through the day.

First place was won by State College, second by Jersey Shore and third by Lock Haven.

The event has grown so much coordinators are thinking of making it a two-day event in 2018, Brian said.

Held through the YMCAs, participants have to be a YMCA-registered swimmer.

Kids swim all year to qualify.

Swimmers who qualify for scholastic districts cannot particiipate in this event, however, that doesn’t mean they’re not competitive.

“Out of the 260-plus kids this year, 36 kids put up district-qualifying times so it’s super competitive,” he said.

Kids participating under the “Silver” designation are ages 9 up to 18.

They compete in all strokes – freestyle, back, breast and butterfly – and at varying lengths of 50 to 500 yards.

The “Novice” participants range in age from 6 and under, plus ages 7 and 8 for competitive and fun purposes.

“We have relays for fun,” he said.

“There was a standing-room-only crowd this year. There wasn’t a seat in the house and it’s wonderful to see that,” Brian said. “We couldn’t do this without a huge group of wonderful parents and community members.”

He mentioned that student volunteers included members of the Central Mountain High School National Honor Society, plus middle-schoolers from the Lock Haven Catholic School.

The Silver Districts and Novice Championships were February 24.