Lance earns two top-20 finishes at State Meet

By on March 20, 2019
Warwick senior Oliver Lance advanced to the boys’ 100 backstroke B-finals at the State Championship Meet last Saturday at Bucknell University, eventually placing 14th in 51.68 seconds. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Warwick senior Oliver Lance advanced to the boys’ 100 backstroke B-finals at the State Championship Meet last Saturday at Bucknell University, eventually placing 14th in 51.68 seconds. Photo by Missi Mortimer
200 IM – Olly

Oliver Lance’s final PIAA State Swimming Meet lived up to his hopes.

Competing in the boys Triple-A 200 Individual Medley and 100 backstroke Friday and Saturday, the Warwick senior dropped time in both events.

And he advanced to the consolation B-finals in the 100 back, eventually placing 14th in 51.68 seconds at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.

“I’m pretty happy with my weekend,” said Lance, a three-time State qualifier who plans to continue his swimming career at Carnegie Mellon University while studying information systems. “From my 10th-grade year, I thought I was going to go up (time-wise), but I was able to hold my times and go a little faster actually in both. So (States) was better than I thought it was going to be.”

It was a big turnaround from his junior season when Lance was unable to compete at Districts and States due to suffering from the flu.

With his top-16 finish in the backstroke, Lance earned All-State Honorable Mention.

“There’s nobody more driven than Olly,” Warwick coach Mark Daum said. “How many hundreds and hundreds of kids participate, and getting All-State Honorable Mention, he’s in rarefied air. I’m proud of him, I’m proud of what he did and he’s going to keep getting better. We’re going to hear awesome things from Carnegie Mellon, for sure.”

In all, Lance was one of five Warwick athletes who competed at the PIAA Meet. The foursome of seniors Catherine Chen and Maya Hartzler, junior Morgan Stuhltrager and sophomore Hannah Greenway took 17th in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:38.33, while Chen added a 28th-place finish in the 100 free in 53.65 seconds.

For the 200 free relay, that completed a steady progression in which they won L-L gold with a personal-best time of 1:39.71, then took fourth at Districts in 1:38.61 before lowering their finish another .28 at the State Championships to 1:38.33.

“I think it was, like, .4 off the school record,” Daum said. “That’s such a short race for swimming, so to speak, and if you hit a turn wrong or hit a wave … I was thrilled for them.”

Unfortunately, the Warriors fell just short of the 16th and final spot in Friday’s consolation B-finals by only 12-hundredths of a second behind Upper St. Clair, which touched the wall in 1:38.21.

“They just missed it,” Daum said. “You can’t do anything better than your best and they did.”

Lance, too, was barely edged out from a spot in the B-finals while swimming in Friday’s 200 I.M.

Seeded 16th in 1:54.87, Lance shaved .09 of a second off his time, touching the wall in 1:54.79. That placed him 18th, but unfortunately, it was just .43 of a second behind LaSalle College sophomore Paul Brosky (1:54.35) for the 16th and final spot in B-finals.

“It was a little disappointed,” Lance said. “My senior year, I really wanted to make it back. I thought I had a chance when I saw 1:54, but it was that half of a second that really made the difference. I gave it my all. I held my taper, I did all I could, and you know what? At the end of the day, I’m happy with how I swam.”

“After what he went through last year and so forth, a lesser kid would have given up,” Daum said. “As I’ve said many times before, he’s just all about guts and heart. And he’s hard on himself. He sets standards, and if he doesn’t make them, he gets down on himself.”

Lance showed his heart again in Saturday morning’s 100 backstroke preliminaries. Qualifying with a time of 51.44, the Warrior senior dropped his time to 51.27 seconds and finished 12th.

“I was really happy with my morning time just making it back to B-finals,” Lance said. “I was glad I held my taper from Districts and I stayed around where I was at Districts, so I was happy with that.”

A few hours later, Lance posted a solid split of 26.61 in the final 50 yards, giving him 14th place overall in 51.68 seconds.

“It’s my last high school meet, my last high school swim and I just wanted to leave it all in the water,” Lance said. “I went up a little (time-wise), but I know I gave it my all, so I was happy.”

Happy would also describe his emotions when looking back at his four-year high school career.

“I can’t really put it into words,” Lance said, “but it was so much fun swimming in high school. It was a great four years. Each team was a little different. This year, we didn’t do as well meet-wise (finishing 2-3 in Section One), but the boys on the team just made it that much more special and they’re going to come back and do very well. It was a fun year. My high school experience was awesome.”




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