Meadville’s Olivia Philbrick powers through the 50 free during the team’s final home meet of the season against Region 3 foe McDowell on Thursday. Philbrick won the 50 free in 26.31 seconds and also won the 100 back in 1:01.59, but it was not enough as the Trojans swept the dual with a 110-64 win over the girls and a 103-76 win in boys action.

It was Meadville’s last opportunity to impress in a region meet setting. While the Bulldogs didn’t win in either the boys or girls matchups against McDowell, some swimmers earned trips to districts and improved their times on the year.

On Thursday night at the George J. Barco Aquatic Center, McDowell swept Meadville in the last Region 3 meet of the season. The Trojans girls team won 110-64 while the boys won 103-76.

The Meadville boys moved to 6-4 on the season while the girls fell to 2-8. McDowell’s boys team is 8-2 and the girls are 8-1-1.

“The highlight of the night was getting some of the kids qualified for district who haven’t made it yet,” said Meadville head coach Pete Coppelli.

For the boys team, Charlie Minor led things off among the district qualifiers in the diving event. Minor scored a 166.80 in six dives to qualify past the 155.00 threshold. He’ll join teammate Isaac Fiely in the District 10 diving competition.

“First time making districts in diving. His previous top score was 124.20,” Coppelli said.

Isaac Johnson finished fourth in the 100 butterfly, but also managed to earn a district qualifying time (1:04.28). 

“Big swim for him tonight to make districts in the 100 butterfly,” Coppelli added.

Johnson also qualified in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:12.90.

“He dropped five seconds from last week,” Coppelli said. “Pretty pumped up swim.”

The Bulldogs also racked up a few wins on the boys side. The 200 medley relay team of Josh Merchbaker, Braden Bosco, Daniel Button and Gabe Cummings won by under a second at 1:46.74.

Merchbaker added wins in the 200 IM (2:09.29) and the 100 butterfly (53.48). Cummings notched a win in the 50 freestyle with a very speedy 23.30 time. Button won the 100 backstroke with a 1:02.37 time.

On the girls side, Peytyn Bailey improved her time in the 100 butterfly with a 1:11.82 time.

“She wants to take that to districts so she asked special to be in that tonight to have a bit of seed time,” Coppelli said.

Ella Stewart swam her first 500 freestyle and qualified for districts with a 6:08.89.

Stewart also took the win in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:19.61.

Also winning for the girls was Olivia Philbrick in the 50 freestyle (26.31) and in the 100 backstroke (1:01.59). 

“We didn’t win on points but we sure won on team effort and getting kids qualified for districts,” said Coppelli. “So it was a good meet.”

Meadville turns its attention now to the McDowell ultimate qualifier on Feb. 15. It’ll be the Bulldogs that just missed qualifying times one last chance to make it to the district meet.

“There’s only one more opportunity, one last opportunity to qualify for districts and that would be the McDowell ultimate qualifier which is (Feb. 15),” said Coppelli. “Anybody who’s close, we’re going to encourage them to go to that.”


Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

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