The 39th annual Dr. Jack Thomas Girls Swimming and Diving Invitational at Ernie Davis Academy’s Thomas Natatorium will feature one of the largest fields for the meet in recent years, along with plenty of talent.
There are 21 teams scheduled to compete and the only one among that group from outside Section 4 is traditional Section 5 power Greece. The diving starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, with 23 divers on the entry list. Swimming begins at 2 p.m.
Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and students. Programs are available for $2.
Among the area teams competing is Horseheads, which has won back-to-back Section 4 Class A championships and returns 2014 state meet participant Rachel Wallisky. Ithaca, which dominated Class A swimming in the section before Horseheads’ recent run, is also in the field and already owns a dual-meet victory over the Blue Raiders.
Elmira Notre Dame’s small team has some big-time talent, led by Frances VanderMeer, Molly Craig and Catherine Craig. VanderMeer, a senior, was named the Most Outstanding Competitor at last year’s Jack Thomas Invitational after winning the 50-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke. She has already qualified for states this season in both events after joining Molly Craig at last year’s state meet.
Corning’s lineup features returning state qualifier Stephanie Li, a senior who won the 100 breaststroke last week at the Owego Invitational in a time of 1:07.68 that was well below the state standard. Watkins Glen brings a strong lineup that includes returning state meet diver Lexi Castellaneta.
Other full teams joining host Elmira are Binghamton, Chenango Valley, Dryden, Johnson City, Lansing, Maine-Endwell, Odessa-Montour, Southern Cayuga, Susquehanna Valley, Union-Endicott, Vestal, Waverly and Windsor. More than 300 swimmers will compete.
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