By Jay Young
ITHACA - Makayla Sargent had a brilliant day of preliminary swimming at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships on Friday, and her performance in the finals on Saturday was just as impressive.
Sargent, a Portville Central School sophomore swimming for Olean because the former doesn't have a team, earned automatic All-American designation after placing first in the 200 individual with a time of 2:02.80, nearly a second faster than her preliminary effort.
She also placed third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 56.06, which earned her All-American consideration.
"She is a very determined girl," said Jamestown coach Nancy Feenstra. "She doesn't back down, I'll tell you that. It's fun to watch.''
The Southwestern Trojans and sophomore Sydney Thomas turned in quite a performance at Ithaca College. After setting a personal best in the 100 backstroke in prelims and earning a 12th seed, Thomas had a banner day in the finals. The sophomore was able to shave her personal-best time in the 100 back down to 58.51, finishing in seventh, and helped the Lady Trojans' 400 free relay as well.
"She did a great job,'' Feenstra said. "She had a great day. She went out there, went through her turns and kept moving. She just kept getting faster and faster. She couldn't have done any better."
The team of sophomore Xiane Smith, Thomas, freshman Sydney Burk, and sophomore Katie Lawton finished 12th for the 400 free relay with a personal-best 3:37.95, a full two seconds faster than their qualifying time.
"I was worried a little bit about that race," Feenstra said, ''because Xiane suffered a shoulder injury earlier (in the 200 freestyle relay) but she really held it together and did a nice job. They swam a great race."
Southwestern's 200 free relay team of Smith, Burk, Lawton, and sophomore Kelsey Powers finished in 14th place with a time of 1:40.22, also a significant improvement over the squad's qualifying time.
Sophomore Megan Marsh of Jamestown also showed improvement from prelim heats in her 200 IM and 100 breast stroke performances. She finished 17th in the 200 IM after putting up a 2:10.61, and 11th in the 100 breaststroke with 1:06.74.
Freshman Deidra Osula of Dunkirk/Fredonia/Silver Creek was the lone competitor from the Southern Tier in the 50 freestyle. She finished in 13th place with a 24.48.
Overall, swimmers from Section 6 placed second behind Section 5 in total scoring, while Clarence came away with the team victory with 241 points.