Clearfield diver Keegan MacDonald placed fifth in the 1M diving event Thursday during the second day of the PIAA Class 2A Swimming and Diving Championships at Kinney Natatorium on the campus of Bucknell University.
“It was definitely a goal to get him on the podium,” Clearfield diving coach Bob Mikesell said. “I kind of got a feel looking at the competition and had a hunch her could get Top 6. And he ended up fifth to reach that goal.”
MacDonald started off a little slow with his first dive, but was able to recover and come back with a fifth-place finish as he scored 210.80 points, just 8.55 behind fourth.
“I did bad on my first dive, but I didn’t give up,” said MacDonald. “I always want to start off with a strong dive to get me going. But I just tried my hardest after that, and I got it. I started hitting my dives and that gave me more confidence.”
Interboro’s Caleb Arnot won the event with 254.30 points.
“Keegan had a shaky first dive, but he kept battling back and made it through each round,” Mikesell said. “He was bummed after the first dive, but I talked to him and got his focus on the rest of the dives. He still had five to go and I just told him to trust his skillset and stay consistent, and he did.”
This is MacDonald’s third trip to states and second medal. He’ll return for his senior season with higher aspirations.
“He wants to break the Clearfield diving record and get his name in the board and he wants to get back to states and see if he can get a little higher,” Mikesell said.
The Bison swimmers were also in action Thursday as Nick Vaow competed in the 100 free after getting a 14th-place certificate in the 200 free on Wednesday, while the Lady Bison took part in two events
Vaow nearly added a second certificate to his collection in the 100 free, but fell just short in the preliminary with a time of 48.99, which was only .3 behind the 16th-placer that went on to the consolation finals. The Bison junior nearly equaled his District 9 gold medal time of 48.92 in the heat.
“He did his best,” Clearfield head coach Jon Mikesell said. “We had a game plan to take it out and go 22, and he just missed it. That made the difference and he came up a little short.
“He had a great season. There is a lot to build on for next year,” Jon Mikesell said. “Not to make excuses, but with the Y format this year and the short turnaround for states, these kids were exhausted. I heard a lot of coaches talking about that.”
The Lady Bison swam in two events Thursday with Beth Struble competing in both.
Struble swam the 500 free in a time of 5:52:05, which was almost two seconds faster than her seed time. Unfortunately she was unable to move up in the standing and finished in 32nd place.
“Beth dropped her time and just missed a PR, so she was happy with that swim,” Jon Mikesell said.
Struble then teamed with Danna Bender, Danille Cline and Jaylin Wood in the 400 free relay. The foursome put up a time of 3:51.85 to place 27th, which was where they were seeded. The Lady Bison did beat St. Marys to gain a little revenge for their district loss to the Dutch.
“That was kind of their goal — to upset St. Marys and they were able to do that,” Jon Mikesell said. “They were pretty happy with that. We have one girl (Cline) coming back next year and the rest are seniors, and they had a pretty good run.”