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Sydney Houtz takes bronze in PIAAs

By Kenny Varner
LEWISBURG – The historic run continues.
Juniata swimmer Sydney Houtz had a historically memorable Friday evening as she made school history and captured the Indians first-ever swimming medal, capturing eighth place in the Class AA 100-Yard butterfly with a time of 58.52 in the PIAA State Swimming Championships at Bucknell University.
Saturday was an even better day as she placed third In the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.94.
“I can’t explain how I feel right now. I’m really, really happy with how I did. It hasn’t really set in yet. This year I only came in focusing on high school things,” Sydney Houtz said. “I was able to more accurately schedule my season out so I was able to keep what I needed to. This would be an example of it. So I think it worked pretty well.”
Early on in Saturday’s preliminaries, Sydney posted the 3rd fastest time of the morning backstroke session at 58.05. She’s was locked in to the evenings A-Final.
“This was much better of a finish than yesterday. She held her place exactly where she was and she swam a great race. She even dropped her time,” said Juniata coach Amy Houtz said. “I think after getting last night’s race under her belt and making the finals and making the finals today in a really good way. So that gave her the confidence that she needed.”
As the moment of truth began, there was a aire of confidence in the young swimmer as she jumped in the pool and set herself up for the start of the race.
When the starter sounded the race, Sydney launched her self backward and she was off. She started off in fourth place but battled into third by the end of the first length. She battled throughout to both keep her spot and catch the leaders.
After a close last lap, Houtz touch in with a solid third place finish of 57.94.
“I know that seed times mean almost nothing when it comes down to it. But I knew I had the potential to do well and I knew that I had it in me that if I could I would do well,” said Sydney Houtz. “In last night’s race I was seeded seventh after being seeded 26th last year so that shows how much better my conditioning has improved. In less than a year I was able to drop almost 20 spots. With the amount of competitions I’ve been doing I feel like I’m getting used to this high energy atmosphere. The backstroke has always been my event.”
With the third place finish, it officially ends the swimming season for the talented Sophomore who made her second trip to the PIAA Swimming Championships a lucrative one.
Swimming fans have to believe that this won’t be the last time the local swimmer will be at the awards stand.

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