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Making a Splash

Seneca Valley’s Haihan Xu swims the 200-yard freestyle Thursday against Mars. The senior recently broke SV’s pool record in the 200 individual medley. Justin Guido/Butler Eagle
Xu, Raiders swim past Mars

JACKSON TWP — The biggest meets for Seneca Valley swimmer Haihan Xu are yet to come, but there’s nothing wrong with leaving his mark along the way.

The senior finished with the top time Thursday in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke as the Raiders defeated Mars 103-42.

In a home meet Jan. 5 against Pine-Richland, he broke his own pool record in the 200 individual medley with a time of one minute, 52.82 seconds, topping the previous standard by less than a second.

“It’s a matter of what I set my mid-season (time) goals to be,” said Xu, the defending WPIAL Class 3A champion in the event. “They just happened to be faster than what the pool record was.”

Xu began swimming 10 years ago.

“I was serious about it from the start, but it was when I was 9 that I started making higher-level meets. That’s when swimming became the dominant thing in my life.”

He’s been a major contributor for the Raiders (4-2) since his freshman season and is now a team leader and it’s not based strictly on his effort in the water.

“He works hard, but is also vocal when he needs to be, letting the younger kids know when it’s time to step up,” said SV coach Brian Blackwell. “Haihan is versatile, so if we’re trying to get other swimmers (WPIAL) cuts in his top events, we can move him around. His times are faster now than they were this time last year and that’s a good sign.”

The Raiders managed the best effort in all 12 events, though they swam the last three as exhibitions. Connor Seeley had the fastest time in the butterfly (56.24) and breaststroke (1:03.79).

SV (4-2) also won the girls meet, 113-71. Six different individuals won events — Audrey Wolfe, Chloe Petersen, Madisen Newton, Elle Alexander, Bella Kling and Claire Riehl.

“We have a lot of fresh faces on the girls team, some younger kids, so it’s a different dynamic than we had last year,” said Blackwell.

Mars (3-2) won the 200 medley and freestyle relays while Reagan Connelly, who was part of both of those victories, won individually in the 50 and 100 freestyles.

“We have nine girl swimmers,” said Planets coach Todd Slobodnyak. “A few are at the developmental stage, so we struggle with depth. Our top girls are starting to get their WPIAL cuts.”

Seneca Valley hosts North Catholic on Monday while Mars travels to Gateway on Tuesday.


Seneca Valley 113, Mars 71

200 medley relay: Mars (Riley Connelly, Victoria Symchak, Sarah Maloney, Reagan Connelly) 1:56.74

200 freestyle: Bryn Wilson (M) 2:04.35

200 individual medley: Audrey Wolfe (SV) 2:35.94

50 freestyle: Reagan Connelly (M) 25.69

1-meter diving: Chloe Petersen (SV) 215.40

100 butterfly: Madisen Newton (SV) 1:03.88

100 freestyle: Reagan Connelly (M) 55.87

500 freestyle: Elle Alexander (SV) 5:58.32

200 freestyle relay: Mars (Riley Connelly, Bryn Wilson, Sarah Maloney, Reagan Connelly) 1:44.36

100 backstroke: Bella Kling (SV) 1:01.71

100 breaststroke: Claire Riehl (SV) 1:13.78

400 freestyle relay: Seneca Valley (Madisen Newton, Alissa Wilson, Taryn Wilson, Lola Schwendemann) 4:00.15


Seneca Valley 103, Mars 42

200 medley relay: Seneca Valley (Gavin Blazer, Connor Seeley, Dylan Seeley, Ronny Royhab) 1:48.21

200 freestyle: Haihan Xu (SV) 1:43.25

200 individual medley: Dylan Seeley (SV) 2:09.18

50 freestyle: Tyler Snow (SV) 25.11

1-meter diving: Isaiah Clerkley (SV) 267.22

100 butterfly: Connor Seeley (SV) 56.24

100 freestyle: Gavin Blazer (SV) 50.39

500 freestyle: Logan Hockenberry (SV) 5:11.85

200 freestyle relay: Seneca Valley (Frankie Walton, AJ Barnett, Colin Stevens, Logan Hockenberry) 1:43.75

100 backstroke: Haihan Xu (SV) 55.13

100 breaststroke: Connor Seeley (SV) 1:03.79

400 freestyle relay: Seneca Valley (Logan Hockenberry, Thomas Pichieri, Kyle Davidson, Gavin Blazer) 3:49.25

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