Elizabeth Forward's Tracy captures 4th WPIAL swimming title
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Braelyn Tracy made an impressive entrance for her high school swimming career when she won the WPIAL Class AA title in the 100-yard freestyle as a freshman.
She closed out her final WPIAL meet with another surprise. And another gold medal.
This time, the Elizabeth Forward senior sliced nearly 17 seconds off her qualifying time in the 500-yard freestyle and pulled off a career-best 4:59.37 to win her fourth career title and second of the meet. Tracy also won the 200 freestyle on the first day of the WPIAL Class AA finals at Pitt's Trees Pool and is the first person since to win both events in the same year since Kara Kaulius of West Allegheny in 2011.
She finished with a time of 4:59.43, which beat Kaulius by only 1.29 seconds in the longest event of the meet.
“I never thought I would go under five minutes,” Tracy said. “The pool was fast and I'm feeling good, and I've never felt this good before. I also think it was Kara, too, pushing me.”
Tracy became the fourth different swimmer to win the 500 freestyle in the last four years, joining Ambridge's Lindsay Vrooman (2010), Kaulius and defending champion Bria Otwell of Freeport, who finished third.
“I know it's just Double-A WPIALs, but it's just so exciting because everyone is here,” Tracy said. “It's just such a great experience having everybody here.”
Tracy qualified for the PIAA Class AA finals, March 13-14 at Bucknell's Kinney Natatorium.
The top five boys finishers and top four girls receive automatic bids to the state meet.
Her teammate, Josh Krieg, had a more difficult path to the state finals.
He finished his heat in the 100 freestyle tied for fifth with Geibel junior John Paul Zimcosky at 49.10 seconds.
They competed in a swim-off to decide who automatically advanced to the PIAA meet.
Krieg swam a 48.78 to edge Zimcosky by 0.08 seconds and earn the slot.
But Zimcosky could still qualify for the state finals with an at-large bid if his time is among the top 32 in the state.
The final slots will be announced early next week.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Krieg said. “I asked J.P. where he finished, and he told me and I said, ‘Me too.' Then one of my teammates told me we had to have a swim-off, but you do what you have to do.”
His fifth-place finish helped the Elizabeth Forward boys to a third-place overall finish in the team standings. The Warriors had 150 points, 53 behind first-place Indiana and 22 behind Mars.
“The boys were incredible and did well beyond expectation,” Elizabeth Forward coach Tammy Blackwood said. “They're a strong group that has been together since they were young, and each year they've gotten progressively better.”
West Mifflin's Brad Kolesar knew he had to make up some time if he was to get past Laurel Highlands senior Justin Kostelnik in the 100 backstroke.
Kostelnik came into the event with a solid qualifying time of 52.89 seconds.
Kolesar shaved 2.7 seconds off his qualifying time but still finished second by 1.36 seconds.
Kostelnik finished in 52.46 seconds.
“Justin was three seconds ahead of us on the seed, and he deserved that,” Kolesar said. “It's just really hard to tell with the backstroke where you're at and you just turn around and see what you got.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Captured: Manhunt ends for Pa. trooper ambush suspect Frein
- 5 Cal U football players arrested for assault; Saturday’s game canceled
- Veteran LB Harrison: Steelers must play to way defense is set up
- Fleury, Penguins too much for Kings
- Steelers notebook: Fully healthy, rookie WR Bryant progressing fast
- Pirates likely to seek pitcher, catcher when free agency starts
- Rossi: The best Penguins defense is ... a potent offense
- Emaciated Lab-collie mix found in garbage bag in New Stanton
- Hackers’ new Dyre malware infects W.Pa. computers, vexes FBI cyber agents
- Penguins assistant coach Tocchet wants Letang to shoot more on power play
- Day 7 of Ferrante trial expected to include testimony from victim’s colleague