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Mt. Pleasant swimmers set goals for state meet

Inspiration won't be a problem for three Mt. Pleasant swimmers when they hit the water later this week at the PIAA Class AA Swimming and Diving Championships at Kinney Natatorium on the campus of Bucknell University.

Freshman Fallon Nelson, junior Dillon Zarycki and senior Alyssa Dombrosky all have goals to accomplish this week, and all are motivated to end the season with a flourish.

Nelson will compete in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. Zarycki will swim in the 50 freestyle and Dombrosky will take part in the 200 individual medley.

For Nelson, the chance to compete at states in two events as a ninth grader is a source of pride.

"It's exciting and I'm nervous, but I think it's pretty cool because not a lot of freshmen get to go," Nelson said. "I've worked hard and I'm proud of myself."

She is seeded 16th in the 200 freestyle (1:57.76), which she will swim on Friday, and 12th in the 500 freestyle (5:16.26), which she will compete in on Saturday.

Nelson already holds the school record in the 500 freestyle (5:14.47), which she set at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Meet in February. However, she still has something to achieve when it comes to the 500.

"I want to drop time, especially in the 500," Nelson said. "I didn't drop time at WPIALs, so that was disappointing."

She also has big plans for the 200 freestyle.

"I want to get the school record in the 200," Nelson said, noting that she is about one second off the record of 1:56.74 held by Amy Cole.

Nelson is expecting to be in the top 16 in each event (the top eight earn medals).

"I'm seeded in the top 16, so I just have to hold it," Nelson said. "And if I really push, I think I can surprise myself."

Like Nelson, Zarycki will also be making his first trip to the state championships. Zarycki is seeded 29th in the 50 freestyle (22.73), and he knew that he would be on the borderline for qualifying for states.

"It was close, and I knew it was going to be close," Zarycki said. "This is a big accomplishment for me, and the reason I got in is the grace of God."

Zarycki knows the odds are stacked against him in terms of making the medal stand or finishing in the top 16. But that isn't stopping him from setting some big goals.

"I hope to place and go to the finals, but when it comes down to it, I know kids will pull in the 20s," Zarycki said. "But I want to be an Olympic swimmer, and I figure I'll just go for it. I'll put my head down and go."

Zarycki will swim the 50 freestyle on Friday.

While Zarycki and Nelson will have other opportunities to go to states after this season, this will be the final race in Dombrosky's scholastic career.

Dombrosky, who will go to college at IUP to study nursing, is thrilled to get back to states. Her only other trip was as a member of a relay team during her freshman year. She is seeded 25th in the 200 individual medley (2:18.03). Dombrosky will swim in the event on Friday.

"I'm looking to go there and swim my best time," Dombrosky said. "It will be my last high school swim meet, and I want to finish on a good note. If I can make it to (final 16), that would be great. It would be exciting if I can make it that far. I want to swim a personal best. If I can get to a 2:16, I'd be happy."

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