Spotlight athletes: Elizabeth Forward's Josh Krieg, Yough's Jessica Cochran
School: Elizabeth Forward
Claim to fame: Krieg qualified for the PIAA championships in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 freestyle, as well as two relay events. The senior swam a 48.78 in a rare 100-yard freestyle swim-off to lock him into the last qualifying slot.
“Josh has been a swimmer for four years. He has qualified for the WPIAL meet all four years and the PIAA meet for three years,” EF coach Tammy Blackwood said. “Josh is very flexible and a very well-rounded swimmer. He has changed events in the past, but he is most focused on the 100-yard butterfly. He trains really hard and is really smooth in the water. He makes it look effortless.”
Have you ever done a swim-off before?
No, that was the first time.
What was going through your mind before that started? Were you nervous?
No, I wasn't nervous because I knew the competition. We used to swim together, and he was a good sport about it. That is rare, and I just had to do what I had to do.
What are your goals for the state meet?
I think to just better my times and do the best that I can.
Will you be playing anything else in the spring?
I'm going to continue swimming in the spring. Nothing else in addition to that.
What do you enjoy most about swimming?
Just being with my team and my friends. The competition is great, too. I just like the fact that I'm able to be a team player and that everyone is always there for you. We suffer through the hard stuff together and enjoy the good times together as well.
What would you like to do next year?
Not sure what school I'm going to yet, but I want to go into the medical field — maybe something like personal training. I plan to keep swimming as well.
Would you rather swim in a pool or the ocean?
I would rather be outside in the ocean or something like that. I don't like the cold weather. My family goes to Myrtle Beach every year. I love it there.
Claim to fame: Cochran will compete in the PIAA state finals in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke, despite having no pool at her school. She qualified 5th in the butterfly with a time of 59.67 and fourth in the backstroke (59.65).
“Pookie, as she is known, has an incredible work ethic,” Norwin Aqua Club coach Neil Jones said.
Jones has been Cochran's coach since she started swimming; he serves as her coach because Yough has no swim program. Cochran's parents are listed as her coaches for meets.
“She's very humble and supportive of all of her teammates. I've been coaching swimming for 16 years and I couldn't ask for someone with a better attitude. She would run through a brick wall if we asked her to. It's great to have her here.”
Do you think it's more difficult for you because you don't have a home pool or does that just motivate you a bit more?
Well, I guess it kind of motivates me when I have to say that I don't have a pool. I feel like I have to prove to people we race against, but I also have to prove myself to my school district. Even though we don't have a pool, it's not going to slow me down. I'm going to keep going. Sometimes when people don't have a pool they quit and move on to other sports. I wanted to keep at it because I love it and I want to prove to my school district that I can still do it. When people ask what team I swim for, I tell them I'm unattached and that I don't have a team and they look at me like I'm crazy.
What do you enjoy most about swimming?
That's tough. Honestly, there are a lot of swimmers that get really focused and their whole life revolves around swimming, but I go to practice to see my friends and whatever happens, happens. It's great to make it to states as a freshman, but whatever happens after this is for kicks and giggles. My coach whipped my butt in practice this year, but I've learned that hard work does pay off. But mostly it's my friends that keep me going. I like seeing them and pulling pranks on our coach, so it's fun to go to practice.
— Robert Stinner