Lance claims District silver and bronze medals

By on March 6, 2019
With his career best time of 51.44 seconds, Warrior senior Oliver Lance won silver in the District Three Triple-A boys 100 backstroke last Saturday night at Cumberland Valley. Photo by Missi Mortimer

With his career best time of 51.44 seconds, Warrior senior Oliver Lance won silver in the District Three Triple-A boys 100 backstroke last Saturday night at Cumberland Valley. Photo by Missi Mortimer

WHS senior advances to States in 200 IM, 100 back

For a good part of this season, Oliver Lance has felt a little bit off in the 100 backstroke.

Last Saturday night, the Warwick senior returned to form.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Competing in the District Three Triple-A Swimming Championships at Cumberland Valley High School, Lance claimed a silver medal in the 100 back in a career-best 51.44 seconds and punched his ticket to States.

“That race really felt much better, back to where it used to be,” Lance said. “So I was happy.”

That wasn’t the only event in which he climbed out of the pool with a medal and State berth.

In Friday’s 200 Individual Medley, Lance took home bronze in 1:54.87.

And yes, he also posted a career-best time there as well, shaving two seconds off his finish of 1:56 in a USA Meet in December.

“This whole weekend,” Lance said, “has been pretty good for me.”

Certainly, it was much better than a year ago.

In fact, Lance never got the opportunity to even compete in the District Championships last season, having been stricken with the flu.

Understandably, it wasn’t an easy time.

“Missing Districts and then missing States definitely was a little tough on me,” Lance said, “because I worked all year toward that. But it put everything in perspective.”

“What a difference a year makes,” Warrior coach Mark Daum said. “A lot of kids would have said, ‘OK, I’m just going to cash it in and cruise my senior year.’ But that kid brings it every day. I’m so proud of what he pulled together and did.”

Seeded in 1:58.25 in the 200 Individual Medley, Lance dropped his time nearly four seconds while touching the wall in 1:54.87. Wilson’s Donovan Curran won the gold medal in 1:51.21, edging out Daniel Boone’s Chris Guiliano (1:51.90).

“I’ve been working on some breaststroke in practice,” Lance said, “keeping my fly smooth. I just felt smooth during the whole race.”

Although the butterfly isn’t his best stroke, Lance is still able to post strong splits on that leg. On Friday, he reached the turn in 24.41 seconds.

“In the I.M. somehow, I relax and I’m just able to keep a steady pace,” he smiled, “and I always go good times in fly, so that was good.”

Ditto in Saturday’s 100 backstroke.

Recording a split of 25.01 seconds on his first 50, Lance closed it out with a silver medal-winning time of 51.44, not far behind Chambersburg senior Avery Barley (51.01).

In the days leading up to Districts, Lance felt himself getting back to normal in the backstroke.

“I’ve been working on my turns and my start at practice,” he said, “and I just utilized that in the race. I felt like I was getting stronger in the water in practice. During the race, I’ve been getting tired toward the end, and (today), I just felt like I was the same as the beginning and I felt very good.”

Lance was also feeling good about where his time would get him seeded for the PIAA Championships, to be held next Friday and Saturday, March 15-16 at Bucknell University’s Sojka Pavilion.

“I think I’ll be around the teens, so I’m glad with that,” Lance said.

Actually, when the seeds were released later, Lance was 7th in the 100 back, to go along with a No. 11 seed in the 200 Individual Medley.

Elsewhere, Warwick freshmen Theo Lance and James Moll also competed at Districts.

Lance finished 16th in the 500 freestyle in 4:52.48, shaving about four seconds from his seed time (4:56.12), and he was 18th in the 200 free in 1:47.92, which was about two seconds faster than his seed of 1:49.37.

Moll, meanwhile, took 15th in the 100 backstroke (55.96) and 28th in the 200 Individual Medley (2:05.21). Both of his finishes were improvements from his seed times of 56.14 in the 100 back and 2:07.49 in the 200 I.M.

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