Butler County spotlight athletes: March 9, 2014
Claim to fame: Zukowski claimed gold in the 100 breaststroke at the WPIAL Class AA swimming championship meet.
Were you surprised to win a gold medal in your first trip to the WPIAL meet?
I was definitely surprised. I didn't expect it at all. I knew a couple of the girls I swam against, but most of them were new to me.
How nervous were you for the WPIAL meet?
I was very nervous. As the day went on, I calmed down pretty well. I'll definitely be nervous (in future years). I had no idea what to expect this year, so it was nice to experience it.
How nice is it to have three teammates (Abby Jones, John Wilson and Ben Lowery) qualify for the state championship meet with you?
I am really excited. It's nice to have three of my teammates go there with me.
How excited are you for the state championship meet?
I am excited. I am just hoping for my best times there. It's going to be an exciting experience because I have never been there before.
Claim to fame: Georgiadis captured two individual gold medals and helped the Mars boys claim the WPIAL Class AA swimming championship.
Mars only had six guys compete, but was able to win a WPIAL title. What does that say about you guys?
We don't have a pool at Mars. A lot of the kids that join the high school team, they have been swimming all their life on a club team. We were the runner-up at WPIALs last year. To win, you have to have a good amount of guys who can place within top eight of every event. You can have 40 to 50 kids on the team, but if you don't have that, you're not going win anything. It's quality over quantity. Numbers help, but you do need the talent, too.
How nice is it to defend your 200 Individual Medley championship?
I was really excited for that. I was like 1.2 seconds off the record. With my teammate (Tom Pierre) finishing second, nothing is better than that. I can't put into words when we get 1-2 as a team in an event. It's awesome.
How pumped are you for the PIAA championship meet?
We're really pumped. We're seeded seventh. All top seven teams are within 0.8 seconds of each other. It could be the closest race I've ever had. If we drop 0.4 seconds, it puts us in third place.
You're heading to Ashland University next year to swim. Why did you choose Ashland?
The university is really gorgeous. Being a swimmer, you are not going out of college and becoming a professional athlete unless you're one of the best in the nation. I took that into perspective. Ashland has a great business program there. I might specialize in finance, but I am not sure yet. The campus was awesome. I met some amazing kids on my recruiting trip there. I had a blast with the guys. The coaches constantly keep in touch with me. They really do care about their swimmers.
— Joe Sager