EF swimmer Tracy peaking at the right time
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Braelyn Tracy went into the WPIAL Class AA meet at Pitt's J.C. Trees Pool with similar expectations to everyone else's.
She looked to shave a couple of seconds off her time to improve her seeding for the state finals coming up March 16-17 at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium and, if everything worked out, possibly win a medal.
The Elizabeth Forward swimmer took home a gold medal. How she did it was almost incomprehensible.
Tracy swam a personal-best 1:53.30 to beat Morgan Fink of South Fayette by 0.37 seconds to win the WPIAL Class AA 200-yard freestyle crown. It was her second overall title; she won her first in 2010 when, as a freshman, she swam a 53.53 seconds to win the 100 freestyle.
"I‘ve been working really, really hard all season and I wasn‘t on an actual taper, but I did rest for a few days because I want to really pull it out at states," Tracy said. "This was my best time and I‘m just really happy."
Swimmers tend to record their best times of the year at the WPIAL finals. That she was able to shave nearly nine seconds off her seed time is rare. Tracy came into the race with the third-fastest time in the WPIAL this year at 1:58.20, but cut 8.90 seconds off to win at the end.
"I don‘t think that she‘s fully rested yet and she's going to go faster at states," Elizabeth Forward coach Tammy Blackwood said. "She‘s a big-meet girl, and she doesn‘t get into a lot of big meets during the season and • in our dual meets, she was never really pushed."
Fink didn't push her either. Instead, the South Fayette junior had her on a tether and Tracy had to reel herself in to get back into the race and, eventually, take the lead.
Tracy did not have the lead at any point in the heat until the final turn. When she popped to the surface, she had moved a head in front of Fink and pulled away just enough at the end to touch the wall first.
"I stayed behind her for a very long time, and she's really tall, so I was just hoping that I would be able to catch up to her," Tracy said. "I kept it in my head that I was going to catch her and, even though she had me on the turns, my swimming was a little bit quicker than hers and that‘s what got me ahead at the end."
Tracy wasn't the only person who needed a superlative final turn to pull off an upset. West Mifflin sophomore Brad Kolesar trailed Ringgold senior Kyle Garase throughout the 100 butterfly, but came on in the final 25 yards to finish with in 52.10 — just 0.14 seconds ahead of Garase's 52.24 to win his first WPIAL championship.
"I saw Kyle a little bit ahead of me at the 50 mark and, around 75, I started to bring it back a little bit," Kolesar said. "From there, I just kind of dug my head down there and tried to get that finish in there."
Serra Catholic junior Anita Onufer shaved nearly five seconds off her seed time in the 100 butterfly, but that wasn't nearly enough to catch up to Mars junior — and WPIAL record holder —- Margaret Gruber. Onufer swam a• respectable 59.52, but finished third, as Gruber was just a shade off her record 54.63 with a 55 flat.
Onufer still qualified for the PIAA finals as the top four finishers in Class AA and the top three in Class AAA automatically move into the championship heats.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Electricity rates expected to increase this winter
- Pirates’ 5-game winning streak ends with 1-0 loss to Brewers
- Scout’s kiosk to tell brave woman’s tale
- Former drug dealer, addict give away groceries as part of church’s outreach
- Project SEED expands
- Expansion in works for Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum
- Trib high school rankings for Sunday, Sept. 21
- 28th Mt. Pleasant Glass Festival has a new look, more contests
- Robinson: Study shows NFL troublemakers don’t get hurt in wallet
- Pirates find a bridge at end of baseball world
- Penguins’ Rutherford hopes to raise Cup again