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Geibel freshman wins 1st WPIAL swimming title

| Friday, March 1, 2013, 6:54 p.m.
Geibel’s Emily Zimcosky swims to victory Friday, March 1, 2013 in the Class AA 100-yard freestyle at the WPIAL championships at Pitt's Trees Pool. (Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review)
Geibel's John Paul Zimcosky swims during the boys' Class AA 100-yard freestyle at the WPIAL championships on Friday, March 1, 2013, at Pitt's Trees Pool. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Justin Kostlnik of Laurel Highlands High School swims during the boys' Class AA boys 100-yard backstroke at the WPIAL championships on Friday, March 1, 2013, at Pitt's Trees Pool. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Geibel's Steve Conko swims during the boys' Class AA 100-yard backstroke at the WPIAL championships on Friday, March 1, 2013, at Pitt's Trees Pool. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant's Fallon Nelson swims during the girls' Class AA 500-yard freestyle at the WPIAL championships on Friday, March 1, 2013, at Pitt's Trees Pool. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

Geibel freshman Emily Zimcosky isn't like most swimmers.

Times and places aren't her main concerns.

“I love getting into the pool,” Zimcosky said. “The ability to go out there and swim is what I love most about the sport, and I don't care about placement, and I don't care about times. I just like to go out and swim.”

She also has a favorite event, the 100-yard freestyle, even though she has no logical reason for it.

“I don't know why it's my favorite event,” she said. “I just feel like it's where I excel the most.”

She'll likely get little argument from the swimmers in the pool with her for the final heat of the 100 freestyle at the WPIAL Class AA finals at Pitt's Trees Pool. Zimcosky won her first WPIAL title and did it in blowout fashion — her time of 51.85 seconds was 1.73 seconds better than second-place Mary Foltz of Eden Christian Academy.

Zimcosky also had a shot at breaking the WPIAL record in the event but came up just short. The mark of 51.66 seconds was set by Kristen Olsen of Moon in 1997.

Zimcosky also moves on to compete at the PIAA Class AA finals at Bucknell's Kinney Natatorium on March 13-14. The top five boys and top four girls finishers at the WPIAL finals earn automatic bids to the state meet.

“I'm nervous, and I have to make sure that I don't let the pressure get to me because that's one of my biggest weaknesses,” Zimcosky said. “But going up there, it's going to be a big meet, and it's kind of nerve-wracking.”

That was nothing compared to what her brother, John Paul Zimcosky, had to go through in his heat of the 100 freestyle. John Paul tied Elizabeth Forward senior Josh Krieg at 49.10 seconds for the fifth and final automatic state qualifying slot. The pair had to do a swim-off to decide who advanced.

Krieg edged the Geibel junior at the end and earned the slot, but John Paul could still qualify for the state finals with an at-large bid if his time is among the top 32 in the state.

Geibel freshman Steve Conko also tied for fifth in the 100 backstroke and lost to Beaver senior Bill Crumrine in a swim-off. Crumrine set a solid pace in the extra heat and finished at 55.68 to better Conko's time of 57.55.

Laurel Highlands senior Justin Kostelnik didn't have to go through a swim-off to get into states. His 52.46 finals time in the 100 backstroke beat West Mifflin's Brad Kolesar by 1.36 seconds was good for a WPIAL title.

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kbarnes@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.

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