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Virginia Tech swimmer builds on Mars prep career

Virginia Tech Athletics - Maggie Gruber swims the backstroke at the Virginia Tech Swimming Hokie Fall Invite
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Virginia Tech Athletics</em></div>Maggie Gruber swims the backstroke at the Virginia Tech Swimming Hokie Fall Invite
- Maggie Gruber
Maggie Gruber

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By Karen Kadilak
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 1:46 p.m.

A freshman, former Mars standout Maggie Gruber was happy just to have competed for Virginia Tech at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships from March 20 to 22 in Minneapolis.

But she has bigger goals in the years ahead.

Gruber, an Atlantic Coast Conference finalist in the 100-yard butterfly, hopes to qualify individually at other events.

“Maggie qualified as a key relay swimmer and is getting valuable experience,” coach Ned Skinner said. “We look for her to be an All-American one day.”

Gruber swam the third leg for the 400 medley relay team that finished 24th in 3 minutes, 37.44 seconds and anchored the 800 freestyle relay that placed 28th (7:20.77).

Virginia Tech finished 24th overall, the third consecutive year it was in the top 25.

“Maggie really hammers it as a flyer in the 400 medley (relay),” Skinner said. “She's a tenacious worker.”

Gruber finished sixth in the 100 butterfly (53.82 seconds) at the Atlantic Coast Conference championship meet from February 19 to 22 in Greensboro, N.C.

A consolation finalist, she placed 16th in the 100 backstroke (54.48) and the 200 butterfly (2:02.04).

She was in the 400 medley relay that finished third and qualified for the NCAA championship (3:35.45).

She also swam the lead legs of the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays that finished sixth and seventh with marks of 1:31.74 and 1:39.39, respectively.

She scored 46 individual and 148 relay points for Virginia Tech, which finished fifth overall.

“I was more nervous going into ACCs than NCAAs,” said Gruber, 18. “Doing well gave me confidence.”

“Maggie was third in the preliminaries of the 100 (butterfly),” Skinner said. “That was an important moment for her.”

A six-time WPIAL Class AA champion, Gruber holds WPIAL records in the 100 butterfly (53.88) and 100 backstroke (54.51), and the PIAA record in the 100 butterfly (53.50).

She is considering majoring in hospitality and tourism management.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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