WILKES-BARRE – The Dallas boys proved in 2015 that it was possible to win a district team title without finishing first in a single event.
The Mountaineers were closing in on trying to do it again in the March 4-5 District 2 Class AA Swimming Championships when Porter Luksic gave the team something better.
Luksic won the final individual event, then took part in a win in the final relay to help the Mountaineers pull away and outscore second-place Scranton Prep by 41 points on the way to their sixth championship in seven years.
In years past, Luksic has been a contributor to team championships and even a state individual qualifier but he was looking for his first district gold medal when he entered the pool for the last individual event of his senior year, the 100-yard breaststroke.
“I was seeded first in the breaststroke my sophomore and junior years, but came out fourth and third,” said Luksic, who again went in as the event favorite. “If you were going off that, you might not think I had a really good shot. But, I thought I had a good shot this time, because I’ve been working harder, working on my stroke more and was just more prepared than I had been the last two years.”
Luksic came through, winning by 21-hundredths of a second over Holy Redeemer’s Nick Dubinski in 1:00.66.
There was little time for celebration, however.
Luksic still had the last event ahead, the 400 freestyle relay where the Dallas team collectively dropped 10 seconds from its best time.
“We thought we would win at districts, but we never thought we’d get the time that we did,” Luksic said.
Jared Krawetz, Troy Reinert and Mikail Krochta set up Luksic for the anchor leg and a team finish of 3:19.91 to win by more than six seconds.
“It’s kind of exhausting when you’re in dual meets and they’re only two minutes apart,” said Luksic, who has been working with the same relay teammates all season. “But, at that stage, when you’re at districts, you have a good amount of time. It’s exhausting, but you’re pretty well-conditioned.
“You can go one to the other and still have good times.”
After placing 18th in the state in the breaststroke last season, Luksic put himself through that test all season to be ready for this time of the year.
Luksic hopes to lower the times even more at Bucknell. He would like to break the minute barrier in the 100 breaststroke and the relay team will aim for the school record of 3:17.51.
The experience of having competed at the PIAA Championships could come in handy in the week ahead for Luksic and other Dallas boys and girls swimmers who are making a return trip to the state event.
“You know what it’s like; you know what to look for,” Luksic said. “ … You know how to do the warm-ups better because they’re really hectic.
“It helps to know your way around, know when to eat and know what you have to do have yourself ready.”
When he gets ready to start his latest pursuit of improved times at Bucknell, Luksic will do so as a district champion.
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