Plum's Taylor, Decheck compete at state meet
Devan Taylor knew what to expect.
The Plum sophomore swam at the PIAA Class AAA swimming championships for the first time last year.
She said that experience helped her as she returned to Bucknell University over the weekend.
Taylor, 10th in the 100 breaststroke at WPIALs on March 3, came close to surpassing her school record and finished 23rd overall.
She swam a time of 1 minute, 5.86 seconds at states, only six one-hundredths of a second off the record.
“Last year really helped me because I wasn't as nervous this time,” Taylor said. “I was more prepared because I knew how everything worked. I was really relaxed and ready to swim.”
Taylor said she felt pretty good in the water.
“My technique was good, and my turns were much better. I've been working on them a lot since WPIALs. I think I had a good swim.”
When she hit the wall and looked up at the board, she said there was some disappointment.
“I felt I was so ready, and I felt I could go faster than WPIALs, but other than that, being right around that time and it being a long season, I can be happy with it. My goal is to be a lot faster next year.”
Fellow Plum sophomore Justin Decheck competed a states for the first time. He qualified for the 100 backstroke after finishing ninth in a competitive field at WPIALs.
After getting familiar with his surroundings Sunday, Decheck took to the pool in the second of four heats and finished 25th with a time of 53.07.
“It was nice to see his nerves not get a hold of him,” coach Shawn Haupt said. “Last year, he had nerves get the best of him in championship meets, and he's past that now. He was comfortable and swam the same race he did at WPIALs.”
Haupt said numerous WPIAL swimmers found themselves with times elevated from what they recorded at WPIALs.
“District 7 is good, and you have to go all in to get (to states),” Haupt said. “(Pitt's) Trees Pool, in all honesty, is a better facility, and that helps the WPIAL swimmers go fast. You see it every year. The WPIAL swimmers' times tend to go up. However, you have to work to get past that.”
Haupt said he hopes additional swimmers will qualify for states over the next couple of years and that Taylor and Decheck can make return trips to Bucknell.