JOHNSTOWN - It did not take Johnstown High School senior Meghan Bartlett long to qualify for the 2012 New York State Public High School Athletic Association swimming and diving championships. She did it at the first 11-dive meet of the season on Sept. 25 topping the state standard of 409 with a winning score of 415.35.
Bartlett will try to cap off her fourth straight state meet appearance the way she opened the season, with a victory. She and fellow Fonda-Johnstown swim team competitor Erica Askew are among the Section II swimmers and divers who compete for state titles when the NYSPHSAA championship meet opens Friday at Ithaca College.
"It is my first time at a really big meet like this with a lot of really good swimmers," Askew said. "I am hoping to be in the top 20."
Fonda-Johnstown’s Meghan Bartlett dives during a Sept. 25 meet at Johnstown High School. Bartlett is seeded second for this weekend’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association state championship meet at Ithaca College. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
Askew qualified for the championship meet at the Section II Division II championships on Nov. 1 and 2 at Shenendehowa High School.
She won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:08.14, which earned her the 23rd seed in the championship meet.
Askew is a member of a seven-swimmer 100-yard breaststroke squad from Section II headed for Ithaca that includes Caroline Conboy (Saratoga Springs), Grace Ayer (Bethlehem), Emma Rupert (Shenendehowa), Anna Vitolins (Shenendehowa), Grace Matuszyk (Niskayuna) and Bridget Geary (Shenendehowa).
Swimming & Diving
- What: New York State Public High?School Athletic Association swimming and diving championships
- When: Friday, Saturday
- Where: Ithaca College, Ithaca
Askew, who swims with the Amsterdam Sea Rams during the off-season, has qualified for championship meets at the club level. However, this is her first scholastic state meet.
"I think that [club] experience will help," she said. "But going with Meghan will definitely help."
Bartlett, who placed sixth, 15th and 16th in her previous three state-meet appearances, will start Friday's competition near the top of the qualifiers.
"I am seeded second right now, but our 11-dive scores go back and forth, so it will be close," she said. "I like the 11-dive format because you get to do more dives and I like the harder dives too."
The senior diver said that each year she has stepped up the level of difficulty in her dives as she pursues a state title to go with her numerous dive meet championships and four-straight sectional titles.
"I have definitely been doing harder dives but the dives I was doing as a freshman were not real easy by any means," Bartlett said. "Things like my inward flip turned into an inward one-and-a-half pike. So it has definitely progressed."
Bartlett, the top diver for Section II this season, placed 15th overall at the state meet in 2011 after placing sixth in 2010 and 16th in 2009. Lauren Katz (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) and Elyse Piseczny (Mohonasen-Schalmont) join her as the 2012 Section II diving representatives.
A change in format may work in Bartlett's favor as the diving is scheduled to be completed on Friday, instead of the being spread over two days as was done in the past.
"What they usually do is you do the first six dives and then there are semi-finals where you do your next three," Bartlett said. "They make cuts between each one and if you don't make a certain score, then you are let go. Then you would go the next day, but I have heard they are going to do it all on one day, like a sectional meet. I really don't mind that because you are already going and don't have to warm up again."
Bartlett's score of 494.80, which she scored against Amsterdam on Oct. 27, earned her the second seed behind Section IX's Shannon McNamara (Warwick) 505.65 and ahead of Section IV's MacKenzie Moss (Chenango Valley) with 467.15. McNamara placed third and Moss fourth at the 2011 meet. Bartlett finished ahead of both divers in the 2010 competition.