If the YAIAA swimming league had a rookie-of-the-year award, it would be nearly impossible to give one out this season.

And it's not because there are no rookies -- quite the opposite, in fact.

There are simply too many talented freshmen spread out around the league this season, and most of that tremendous youth will be on display during Friday and Saturday's YAIAA swimming championships at Central York High School.

Certainly, some of the freshmen might stand out more. But the overall depth provided by ninth graders could be at an all-time high, with schools like West York, New Oxford and Susquehannock posting record numbers.

And that's a good thing, according to Dallastown coach Rich Howley.

"I am excited for the whole league, for all of the children. That makes it fun," he said.

Veteran Dover coach Rich Janosky agreed, saying that the parity has been great.

"It's probably been several years since anything like this. There has been a couple of years along the way, but this has been a special year to have such an influx," he said. "We couldn't be more happy the other teams have gotten their numbers up."

Entering Friday's YAIAA meet, Howley's Division I champion boys' squad has Corey Stauffer as the top seed 200 freestyle and No. 3 in the 100 free.

Stauffer is joined by fellow freshmen D.J. Boyer, the third seed in both the 200 and 500 free, along with Mason Tate, who is one of four sub-one minute backstrokers.

"It's been a great experience," Stauffer said. "When we think about our future, we can be a really good team with all the freshmen and the sophomores, too."

Although he might have seen some faster swimmers enter his program as freshman, Howley said he has never seen such a strong group.

"Collectively, an awful lot of talent came in, which is great for the sport and great for the future," he said. "Now the boys are starting to come around, the girls are starting to come around and not just (at Dallastown)."

Several teams have benefited from the injection of youth, as evidenced by the psych sheets for this weekend's YAIAA championships.

The boys' 100 breaststroke is a perfect example: South Western freshman Jordan Grim is the top seed with the York Suburban freshmen duo of Will Massey (fourth) and Alex Bukoski (sixth) in the top six.

Red Lion has ninth-grade classmates Chance King, who set a school record early this season in the 500 free, and Callum Brandt, the fourth seed in the IM, although King is not scheduled to swim at the YAIAA meet.

Plenty of young swimmers have paved the way for their teams in the YAIAA girls' league, as well.

Dover has a terrific freshmen tandem from its Division II-winning girls team in Nicole Smith and Rachel Spaulding, who enter this weekend as the No. 2 seeds in the 200 free and 200 individual medley, respectively.

Both are less than a second off the pace set by top seeds and, along with teammates Courtney Dacheux and Aniella Janosky, are members of the league's top-seeded 200 and 400 free relay teams.

"Nicole and Rachel have a lot of age-group experience. The big part is they really have the maturity to know these competitive situations," coach Janosky said. "They don't get flustered easily. If something goes wrong, it's ok, there is always the next event."

Spring Grove's girls got a boost from several freshman, such as sprinter Alexis Cable, and Suburban added Emily Schmittle, the third seed in the 100 butterfly.

Add several sophomores seeded highly coming into the weekend, it looks as if YAIAA swimming will be in fine shape for years to come.
snavaroli@ydr.com; 771-2060