Houtz places 4th for 5th career medal

Junior swims backstroke in 57.63 seconds

Sentinel photo by JIMMY MAY
Juniata’s Sydney House swims in the finals of the 100-yard backstroke Thursday evening during the PIAA Class 2A state Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.

LEWISBURG — Juniata swimming phenom Sydney Houtz has been quite familiar with success at Bucknell University.

The junior has been competing since her freshman year on the big stage of the PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships held on the Bison campus, medaling five times since her first visit.

Thursday, the lone Indian swimmer was looking capture medal No. 5 in her best event, the 100-yard backstroke.

In the finals, Houtz started in lane six and started out with a strong initial push off.

She was slightly behind the top four swimmers at the start but as the first lap was completed she took a very strong turn off the wall, putting her right in with the pack and continued to swim strong into the third and final lap.

She finished in fourth place with a time of 57.63 seconds.

“When I first got out of the pool at first I thought, ‘Oh, just a fourth.’ But when I looked at the times I saw two people finish with 54s and that in its self is insane. So was okay with my placement,” Houtz said. “I got to race against some awesome people so I’m really happy.”

Houtz advanced Thursday morning through the preliminaries, posting a time of 57.87 in the event — also the fourth-fastest time. That locked her in to Thursday’s A final.

Wednesday, Houtz finished sixth in the 100-yard butterfly, making this her second year of finishing the meet with two medals.

“The second day is always the day that she seems to excel in. She always seems a little bit stronger and a little bit more improved,” said her coach, Amy Houtz. “She swam pretty consistent. I thought she did really well. She’s improved a lot.”

With another season left in her high school career it is safe to say that another trip to the Bucknell campus might be a strong possibility and with that a chance to add to her state medal collection even more.

With her high school swimming season over, Houtz will now move onto the track and will begin her spring and summer club swimming shortly after the state finals.