Competition should be stiff at Patriot Invitational
By JAY W. BENNETT
PARKERSBURG — For swimming fans, there should be plenty of quality competition when the Patriot Invitational gets underway at noon Saturday inside the Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club.
Defending boys state champion Parkersburg South is currently ranked fifth by swimwv.com while rival Parkersburg is ranked second. On the girls side, the Big Reds and Wheeling Park currently check in as tied for first in the Mountain State.
“Saturday is going to have a lot of good competition and that will give us a better idea of where we stand on both sides,” admitted PHS head coach Terry Nisewarner, whose squad had a meet on Monday.
“Monday was a small meet, but we still had kids getting best times. Our expectations are starting to get a little higher.”
The Patriots of head coach Steve Lutz have been led on the boys side by Dominic Collins, who finished third in the 50 freestyle at state last year behind champion Garrett Fink of South and runner-up Nathan Burd of Parkersburg. Collins and Burd, who was last year’s state champion in the 100 freestyle, have been neck-and-neck in the 50 freestyle thus far in the season as Collins’ top time of 22.68 is good for second statewide while Burd had the third fastest time at 22.75.
“We’ve definitely been putting in a lot of work this week coming off Christmas break,” said Collins, who along with fellow teammates Seth Wright, Josh Lynn and Devan Wilson have the fastest 200 freestyle relay time (1:37.86) in the state.
“It’s been nice to relax a little bit, but getting back in the pool and really working hard always feels good. You feel like you are improving for your home meet, which is always great to swim in.”
Collins added that during the holiday break both “Kinzie and Garrett has been in and it’s been a really great experience having them here again.”
He also added of facing off against his rival Burd “Nathan and I always have great competition. He’s one of my really good friends. It’s always fun to swim against him.
“We’re buddies. It’s great. It’s just good to swim against good competition and he’s some of the best around.”
Coach Nisewarner noted “swimming is a different sport. It’s much more of a community and the kids are all friends and they get along. It’s nice to see that. The kids have a lot of down time and they get to interact.
“You don’t see kids at basketball games going to the other bench to talk to players. It’s nice being in that atmosphere. It’s definitely different than other sports, but it’s one of the things I think makes swimming a really fun sport for the kids to do.”
The only other local relay team which has turned in a statewide best time is the Big Red girls in the 400 medley relay. The quartet of Julia Collett, Olivia Collett, Grace Cox and Katie Snider have the best finish in 3:55.30.
David Snider of PHS currently checks in with the best times in the 100 freestyle (50.73) and the 200 freestyle (1:55.60). Burd’s time of 51.23 in the 100 free is the second fastest and Collins’ 52.10 is fifth best.
* When: Noon, Saturday
* Where: Parkersburg’s Boys and Girls Club
* W.Va. Top-15 ranked girls teams competing: T1. PHS, Wheeling Park; 5. Morgantown; 9. University
* W.Va. Top-15 ranked boys teams competing: 2. PHS; 5. South; 8. University; 10. Wheeling Park; 11. Weir; 13. Morgantown
* Also competing: Marietta, Linsly, John Marshall