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State swimming meet abruptly ends

Local swimmers competed at the PIAA State Swimming and Diving Championships, which began last Wednesday and were scheduled to go through Saturday, but their trip to Bucknell University was cut short when the meet was shut down on Thursday.

“It was actually kind of weird because the Class 2A divers were coming in, doing their warm-ups, and it was pretty congested in the diving area, so it was very hectic,” said Liberty swim coach Reik Foust, who had six swimmers with him at states. “Then, 10 minutes later, it was empty.”

Not knowing what to make of it, assistant Liberty swim coach Evan Kocon approached a PCN-TV cameraman to ask. The cameraman said that PCN had just been notified by the PIAA to cancel the meet.

Shortly thereafter, a meet official made an announcement for all coaches to meet at the announcer’s table, but by then, Foust and Kocon knew what was happening.

“It was a jacked up morning, a good morning meet, and then a real calm came over the crowd,” Foust said. “The college was shutting down.”

“It was so much fun and enjoyable to watch, and the kids are appreciating the effort, and all of a sudden, it’s cut out from under you, but there are things that are bigger than swimming,” Foust said. “The kids were disappointed but understanding.”

Also postponed was the PIAA basketball playoffs which still featured several teams from District 11, including: Bethlehem Catholic girls (4A), Freedom girls, Nazareth girls (6A), the Mahanoy Area girls (2A), Nativity (1A), Tamaqua boys (4) and Nativity boys (1A).