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Daily News spotlight athletes: West Mifflin's Brad Kolesar, Norwin's Kathryn Painter

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 12:26 a.m.
West Mifflin's Brad Kolesar
West Mifflin's Brad Kolesar
Norwin's Kathryn Painter
Norwin's Kathryn Painter

Brad Kolesar

Year: Senior

School: West Mifflin

Sport: Swimming

Claim to fame: Kolesar won both the 100-meter backstroke and the 100-meter butterfly at the WPIAL swim championships last week, with times of 52.54 and 50.82, respectively. The senior set a meet record in the butterfly and will be competing in the PIAA meet next week at Bucknell University.

“Brad is a really focused kid,” coach Steve Larkin said. “He is very goal-oriented and takes and gives direction very well. He always keeps on tasks and tries to give pointers to others as much as he can. He is always willing to do what we ask of him.”

What drives you to push yourself in the pool?

Honestly, it has to be the competition. When you look at any level of competition in our sport, it's basically a science, especially at the Olympic level. I look around at everyone else and it drives you to the point that you have to man up to achieve what you want to achieve.

What do you do to train?

We train every day. We practice for two hours at a time anywhere from 9-10 practices a week. We do a lot of dryland stuff outside of the pool, such as lifting, ab workouts, and cardio. Our exercises in the pool are timed. For example, we have 1 minute and 10 seconds to do four laps. If you finish in 1 minute and 5 seconds you have a 5 second break before you have to go and do it again.

Which event do you enjoy most?

I would say the 100 butterfly is my favorite event. It's always been really special to me. It's one of my best events, and I think with winning the WPIAL the last three years is very special to me.

What are your plans for next year?

I am looking into continuing swimming. There are four schools I am looking at: Gannon, Westminster, St. Vincent and Wheeling Jesuit. I've been accepted into all four. I want to be a photographer so I'm still trying to decide if I want to major in business and minor in photography or major in photography.

— Robert Stinner

Kathryn Painter

School: Norwin

Sport: Swimming

Year: Junior

Claim to fame: Painter won the 500 freestyle (4:56.48) and 200 IM (2:02.69) at the WPIAL Class AAA swimming championships last week at Trees Pool. Painter, who is the first Norwin champion since 2009, also will participate in the 400 freestyle relay at the PIAA swimming and diving championships next week at Bucknell University.

“I'm really excited for both victories. I have worked hard and it's good to see it has paid off,” Painter said. “It's also good to see how I could do at a big meet like that one.”

How does it feel to bring back a WPIAL championship to Norwin?

It feels really great to bring it back to Norwin. I'm happy I was the one to do that. I feel like I have made everyone happy and I'm happy that I was able to make them proud.

What is your strongest stroke?

I feel like this year it's the breaststroke. It changes a lot because it depends on how I'm swimming at that moment.

What are your thoughts going into states?

I'm really excited that I'm seeded very well. My relay team made it so I'm excited they will be with me. Also, I'm excited to see what the competition brings at states.

What sport or activity would you participate in if you weren't swimming?

Dancing. I use to dance when I was younger. It was a lot of fun.

If you were able to visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Paris. I have always wanted to travel to Europe and see all the historical places over there.

— Andrew John

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