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Jersey Shore swimmers set for postseason action

EXPRESS FILE PHOTO Jersey Shore’s Meaghan Keegan competes during a dual meet in 2019.

Getting to the state meet in swimming has never exactly been an easy feat to accomplish, and this year won’t be any different. The District 4 swimming championships has tons of talented swimmers throughout both boys and girls competition, and Jersey Shore is hoping to collect a few medals.

The 11-event girls competition will take place tonight at 6 p.m. and the 11-event boys competition will be held Thursday at 6 p.m.

While every swimmer who will take place in an event the next two days is eyeing a gold medal, Jersey Shore’s Meaghan Keegan is perhaps a tad more motivated than others.

After not being able to even get a chance to medal at the state meet last year due to Class AA competition being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she wants a shot to get back and redeem herself for a lost opportunity.

“Meaghan has picked right back off where she left off after last season’s disappointing end. Her work ethic and determination to compete and hopefully return to states during her senior year is definitely on her mind and has been her season goal all season,” Jersey Shore coach Jonathan Palumbo said.

For Keegan, she will be swimming in the 100 fly and 100 breast, and Palumbo noted how the 100 fly should be a tough competitive race. Her heat features Shamokin’s Gabrielle Doss and Megan Roman; Danville’s Brenna Ross and Hannah Bartholomew; Bloomsburg’s Adrianna Howell and Annabell Reck; and Hughesville’s Karlee Wallis.

Keegan won the 100 fly last year at districts by roughly half a second.

In the 100 breast, the Jersey Shore senior will have to also compete against Lewisburg’s Alex Decker in the second heat. Doss, who will swim in the 100 breast, was last year’s district winner with a time of 1:06.18, and Keegan finished fifth.

Palumbo sees Caleb Stemler, Artie Dammer and Keegan as all having a good chance at medaling in their respective races, and noted Keegan has the best chance to claim gold.

“We’re really proud of all our swimmers this season, especially with the type of season we had this year with COVID, and we’re looking forward to just finishing the year on a strong note,” Palumbo said.

Stemler will be competing in a tough 100 free race and Dammer will be swimming in the 100 breast.

“There are a lot of really close seed times in that finals heat as well and we’re hoping for Artie to put up his best time of the season and take a few places in the race,” Palumbo said. “I also think the boys 200 free relay should be a good tough matchup for our boys and everyone involved.”

That 200 free relay team is comprised of Dammer, Andrew Kitchen, Aaron Baker, Stemler and Jason Grant.

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