Zach Titus

Titusville’s Zach Titus (center, right) celebrates with boys head coach Kevin Dawson after breaking the school’s record in the 100-meter backstroke. Titus’s time of 1:03.82 bested Seth Come’s 2010 mark of 1:04.40.

At the start of the season, every athlete is looking to get off to a fast start. 

Zach Titus, of the Titusville boys swimming team did that and more on Monday, during the Rockets’ first swim meet of the season against the Slippery Rock Rockets.

Titus had his sights set on history during the offseason. Over the past few months, Titus had work hard to break the Titusville school record in the 100-meter backstroke. He actually beat Seth Come’s 2010 record time of 1:04.40 three times in the past, but not in a high school meet. Monday was the day that he was looking to do so.

With his teammates cheering him on at the far end of the pool, excited that they might witness history, Titus did not disappoint. 

As he neared the end of his swim, the noise level from his teammates and the fans continually increased, until it culminated in an uproar when Titus reached the “finish line.” With a time of 1:03.82., Titus accomplished his goal, and he still has an entire season to improve upon it.

“It feels great,” Titus told The Herald. “Everyone behind me for that, gosh, the team is insane. They were all there for me and cheered me on. I broke [the record] once in the summer and two times in YMCA meets, but this time was the greatest since all of my teammates were there cheering me on. I’ve never seen that before. It was my goal to break it in the first meet of the year. I wanted to get a quicker time, but it’s a gorgeous thing, breaking the record.”

Immediately after setting the record, Titus was mobbed by his teammates. Titusville all celebrated together as one unit. Come, who is an assistant on the coaching staff, followed with a hug and congratulatory remark after witnessing one of his proteges break his record.

As for the meet at hand, Titus was one of the big performers in the boys’ 90-55 win over Slippery Rock. Titus and Shane Steffy were triple-winners.

Along with his accomplishment in the 100-meter backstroke, Titus also won the 200-meter IM, and was a member of the victorious 200-meter medley relay team, which also consisted of Jacob Southwick, Max McAllister, and Steffy.

Steffy won two individual events as well — the 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle.

Zach Burton was a double-winner, taking the 50-meter freestyle and being a member of the 200-meter free relay, with Brian Clark, Austin Frater, and Southwick. Zaide Crawford also picked up a win in the 100-meter free.

Titusville had six swimmers qualify for districts. Steffy (200-meter free, 400-meter free), Titus (100-meter backstroke, 200-meter IM), McAllister (100-meter butterfly), Seth Brooks (100-meter butterfly, 100-meter backstroke), Zaide Crawford (100-meter free), and Darius Crawford (100-meter breaststroke) all met district qualifying standards in their respective events.

Notching personal-best times were Frater (200-meter free, 100-meter breastroke), Ralph Turchio (100-meter butterfly), Mitchell Baldwin (100-meter freestyle), Trey Kirvan (400-meter free), and Darius Crawford (100-meter breaststroke).

“I am always a little worried whether we have prepared well enough for the first meet,” Titusville coach Kevin Dawson said. “While there are several things we need to improve, I saw many good performances. It was nice to see the veteran swimmers take some of the new swimmers under their wings, and help the navigate the meet. I was also pleased with the effort that was put forth by all the boys resulting in several new district qualifiers, a new school record, and lots of best times.”

In the girls contest, Titusville fell to Slippery Rock 99-71.

“Slippery Rock has some brand new faces who are very good this year,” Titusville girls coach Judy Lesko said. “They were a bit too much for us to handle. We hung with them for most of the meet, but we lack the depth to finish.“

Tituville’s lone victory of the meet was in the 200-meter free relay, in which Sara Kowalczyk, Kate McAllister, McKenna Houck, and Amy Bleday worked together to get the win.

Jazmyn Young (500-meter free), McAllister (100-meter butterfly), and Bleday (100-meter butterfly) each qualified for districts. Sierra Baker had personal-best times in the 200-meter free and 100-meter breaststroke.

“Sierra Baker had a monster meet with personal-best times in her events,” Lesko said. “She beat last year’s time by four seconds in the 200-free and as well as four seconds in the 100-breast. What a great way to start out the year. Kearra Deeter also had some great times in the 50-free and 100-free. She didn’t swim last year but is starting just where she left off. Holly Wentling did a good job completing the 200-free. We have to fine tune some things this week before we swim Sharon in a week.”

Titusville will travel to Sharon for a Region 1 meet on Monday, at 4 p.m.

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