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Geibel's Zimcosky settles for victory in consolation finals

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 10:51 p.m.

LEWISBURG — Geibel freshman Emily Zimcosky was hoping to win a heat at the PIAA Class AA championship meet.

Only she was kind of hoping to do it way before it actually happened.

Zimcosky took first place in the consolation finals of the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 52.94 seconds to finish ninth at the state finals at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.

“Having this new experience and being separated from my time, I think it got to me and my nerves,” Zimcosky said. “Coming to a big meet like this and seeing big names, it kind of got to my head.”

Zimcosky finished second to Elizabeth Forward senior Braelyn Tracy in the event at the WPIAL Class AA finals at Pitt's Trees Pool on Feb. 28, with a time of 1:52.69, but she swam a 1:54.88 in the morning qualifiers.

That put her nearly a second behind Moon senior Alexis Mitcheltree for the eighth and final slot in the championship heat.

Despite the improvement from the morning to the evening, her time would have been good enough to finish sixth in the finals — she did not earn a medal because she did not compete in the championship heat. That knowledge, though, will serve her well as she prepares to compete in the 100 freestyle on Thursday in the second and final day of the Class AA meet.

“You just want to get into your suit, get the right amount of yards in and talk to your coach,” Zimcosky said. “It's all time-management.”

While Zimcosky struggled off the blocks, Tracy just didn't feel comfortable in her races. Though she did win a medal — she was fifth with a time of 1:52.84 — her time was we'll above the personal-best 1:51.94 that led to a gold medal at the WPIAL meet.

“I don't know what happened,” Tracy said. “I did phenomenal at WPIALs and was happy with how I did there, but I just didn't feel fast in the pool.”

She would have had a hard time winning a state title, as junior Adriana Grabski broke Bloomsburg's Stef Williams' 1998 record (1:47.37) in the event with a time of 1:47.05. But after going into the meet as the No. 2 seed and swimming just a 1:53.59 in the morning qualifier, Tracy's disappointment was obvious.

“In the morning I felt fast, but I just had a God-awful time,” Tracy said. “At night my time was a little faster, but I just felt slower. My body kind of hurt while I was swimming, but I still felt high in the water.”

Laurel Highlands senior Justin Kostelnik qualified for the final of the 100 butterfly as the No. 8 seed, then swam a 52.11 in the final to finish sixth.

Greensburg Salem senior Daniel Yu had a similar experience to his 2012 appearance. Yu failed to qualify for the final heat of the 50 freestyle, then won the consolation race.

“I feel a sense of déjà-vu and I'm just obviously not in as good shape as I was last year,” Yu said. “But it's been a great ride.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kbarnes@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.

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