Big Reds, South to compete at local swim meet today

Parkersburg’s Quentin Oliphant swims the butterfly leg of the 200 medley relay during the Patriot Invitational earlier this season at the Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club. The Big Reds finished second in the event. Photo by Joe Albright.

PARKERSBURG — Local swim fans will get another taste of local action at today’s Penguin Invitational at the Parkersburg YMCA.

The Penguin Invitational, hosted by the Parkersburg High School swim team, will commence at 10:30 a.m. today. The meet will feature the aforementioned Parkersburg team alongside Parkersburg South and other regional competitors from Buckhannon-Upshur, Bridgeport, Buffalo, Grafton, Liberty-Harrison, Lincoln, Notre Dame, Philip Barbour, Point Pleasant, Robert C. Byrd and Wheeling Park. Morgantown was listed to participate in the event, but had to drop due to scheduling complications.

Coach Terry Nisewarner’s team of PHS swimmers are entering the invitational after a successful bout at the Patriot Invitational last weekend. Nisewarner’s cast of talented swimmers claimed first place overall in the boys division. The Big Red boys team led the meet over Parkersburg South (179-149) and achieved top state times in the men’s 200 free swim. The PHS girls managed to snag second place just behind Linsly (201-187).

This sort of success is nothing new for Parkersburg’s 2016-17 season. Aside from some of the long-distance events, PHS’ swimmers have managed to capture top times at almost every event in which the swimmers have participated. Nisewarner is positive about the team’s performance so far, knowing his boys and girls are looking to achieve personal bests while benefitting the team.

“They’ve been swimming pretty well all year,” Nisewarner said. “The boys so far are undefeated. (The girls) have finished second in three meets, including the Patriot Invitational, but we were short-handed in the other two meets.

“After this weekend, we’re looking forward to championship meets and keeping up our momentum.”

In comparison with other WVSSAC competitors, Parkersburg High swimmers David Snider and Nathan Burd now stand at first and second for top times in the men’s 100 free swim. They are leading with 50.73 and 50.83 respectively, trailed by George Washington’s Cameron Penn at 51.50. Snider also leads Parkersburg with a time of 1:55.08 for the state’s top time in the men’s 200 free swim. For the Penguin Invitational, the boys’ closest competition is Parkersburg South’s Dominic Collins at No. 5 with a time of 52.10 seconds achieved at the 2016 Brooke Winter Invitational.

Burd also stands at No. 3 for the men’s 50 free swim with a time of 22.75 at the Patriot Invitational. He’s just .4 seconds from catching Parkersburg South’s Colllins for the leading state time of 22.35 achieved at the Patriot Invitational.

According to, the PHS girls now stand at No. 5 for top relay times for swimmers Olivia Collett, Gemma Cox, Grace Cox and Kate Snider with 1:50.65 in the 200 free relay. They are just behind Morgantown’s team at No. 2 with Abigail Riggs, Abby Voorhees, McKenna Moore and Courtney Deem at 1:48.48.

Parkersburg High freshman Grace Cox stands at No. 7 for individual times in the 50 free with 26.19, which she achieved at the Brooke Winter Invitational. She is also No. 8 for the 200 free with a time of 2:05.48 at the Patriot Invitational and No. 6 in the women’s 100 fly with a time of 1:04.27.

Nisewarner expects that Cox will break a few team records by the year’s end. Parkersburg junior Kate Snider stands at No. 8 for the 50 back with a time with 30.53 at the Patriot Invitational. She stands just below Morgantown’s Abigail Riggs’ time of 30.29 from the MoHawk Invitational.

Much like a still-water reflection of PHS’ performance, South is entering the meet with some noteworthy achievements as well. Parkersburg South’s male swimmers now stand at No. 1 for the state’s 200 free relay with 1:37.28 achieved at the Patriot Invitational by Devan Wilson, Seth Wright, Kyle Houdyshell and Collins.

“They always have a pretty deep team and they’re always good competition,” Nisewarner said of Steve Lutz’s South swim team. “All the kids on both teams know each other and get along really well, so it’s a friendly competition. It’s a lot different than what you’re probably used to.”

According to Nisewarner, fans and newcomers alike will find a lot to enjoy in a friendly, yet competitive atmosphere.

“For this meet, we have a lot of good teams coming that’ll provide a lot of strong competition and a lot of close races,” Nisewarner said. “It can be pretty exciting with this many teams and this high level of competition. All the schools competing have some great swimmers, so it should be a fun time.”