March 22, 2019
By: Tom Meikrantz
The PIAA swimming and diving championships have come a long way in the last five years. No, the events are still the same and the it’s still a four-day event. What I’ve noticed is how the organizers have made the effort to keep the atmosphere lively in-between races with plenty of music which keeps the swimmers on-deck loose before they climb the starting blocks. A few years ago PIAA has brought a dee-jay on board to fill the gaps between races with lively music which is carefully choreographed by one of the PIAA officials who cues the DJ when to start the music and when to fade out much like a sideline ref in a NFL game who cues the on-field officials to resume play coming out of a commercial break.
Each session opens with a video introduction accompanied by music of with the lights dimmed for effect. Then the action begins. There’s usually about a four-minute window between events as each one is scheduled for an exact time to go off. The scoreboard was updated about 5 years ago with a much flashier presentation. I think it’s an improvement overall and makes for a more entertainment experience. Meet director Melissa Mertz does a great job putting it all together and the officials, many who are PIAA veterans who return year after year, seem to enjoy it all and like to dance with the music and feel young again even though they probably never listen to the hip-hop tunes anywhere else. I must point out that the playlist also includes music from the 70’s to the 00’s ( you know “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Sweet Caroline” are in the mix and gets everyone singing and dancing).
Hard to believe but the 4-day championships held at the state-of-the-art Kinney Natatorium at Bucknell have turned into a party! Nice touch!