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Webb, Kushner lead boys

The Parkland boys swimming and diving team finished second in the team standings last weekend at the District 11 Swimming and Diving Championships held at Parkland. Senior Gavin Webb and junior Shawn Kushner both came home with gold medals and the automatic bid to compete in states that comes with them.

After the results of the diving portion of the championship, which was held a week earlier, Parkland held a 30-20 lead over rival Emmaus coming into the swimming portion of the event. Eventually, Emmaus caught the Parkland swimmers in the team standings and went on to win team gold. Of the 12 boys events at districts, a Parkland or Emmaus swimmer took gold in every event.

Webb picked up two medals, winning gold in the 500-yard freestyle and taking silver in the 200-yard freestyle. The senior swimmer made the 500 look almost too easy as he bested second place finisher Ben Gonzalez of Pocono Mountain East by nearly 17-seconds. Parkland’s Nicholas Zaffiro also medaled in the event, finishing fourth.

“I was expecting one last year, but I wasn’t rested,” said Webb, who received a bid-in to states last year, but gets the automatic spot this year. “This year I was [rested] and it feels great. I feel a lot more confident getting in this year. The nerves about going are gone and I feel really comfortable going into states.”

Kushner’s gold came in the 100-yard breaststroke and wasn’t quite as easy as Webb’s gold, but was still impressive. Kushner finished with a time of 58.69 seconds, just .41 seconds behind the District 11 record for the event and nearly a full second ahead of Emmaus Michael Iacobelli.

James Zhang came home with two silver medals, first in the 200-yard individual medley and then in the 100-yard freestyle.

In addition to the automatic bid to states, Webb will also compete in the 200-yard freestyle event thanks to his time being fast enough when compared to other swimmers statewide. Zhang also posted a fast enough time in the 200-yard IM to get a spot at states in that event.

In diving, Ethan Radio, who finished second at districts to earn an automatic bid to states, will compete at Bucknell and comes into the event seeded fourth. Webb has the highest seeding among swimmers, coming in as the number-four seed in the 500-freestyle.

In relays, the 200-yard freestyle team, which included seniors Webb and Zhang and juniors Kushner and Matt Greer, finished third in districts, but their time of 1:27.61 was still strong enough to get them a bid to states. The 200-yard medley relay team with Isaiah Moreef, Nick Zaffiro, Luke Willard and Karl Schmidt finished fourth at districts, but did not receive a bid to compete at Bucknell.

The 3A portion of states will be held at Bucknell University in Lewisburg next Wednesday and Thursday.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZGavin Webb will swim in two individual events at next week's state championship meet.