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Fox Chapel junior Beasley medals at PIAA swimming

| Saturday, March 16, 2013, 11:33 p.m.

LEWISBURG — Fox Chapel junior Sia Beasley only qualified for the state in one event, the 100-yard backstroke, so she had a lot of time to put all her energy into making it pay off.

She couldn't have done it much better.

Beasley moved up six spots from her 13th place qualifying slot and into the medal round in the morning preliminary heats, then finished her day with a solid time of 57.12 seconds for a seventh-place finish at the PIAA Class AAA finals Saturday at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.

“I did a lot of short sprinting strokes and kicking to prepare,” Beasley said.

“And it's a really nice pool. I love it.”

Some of the best swimmers in the WPIAL would likely disagree after several of the top seeds dropped out of title contention. But it's hard to argue with her assessment after what Beasley did in the pool.

Because of her seed, she stepped up onto the blocks in the final heat in Lane 2, which is usually not a place from which swimmers get qualifying times.

In addition, she was in the race with eventual state champion Christina Leander of West Chester East, WPIAL runner-up Meghan Schilken of Mt. Lebanon and District 6 champion Anna Farnsworth from State College.

“I was really excited to swim this morning,” Beasley said. “I had a best time at WPIALs, and I wanted to improve on that.”

Unfortunately, she didn't quite get there.

Beasley swam her four laps in 57.49 seconds, which was 0.02 seconds slower than her WPIAL time. But it didn't matter as she was able to sneak into the final as the last qualifier.

What made her reaching the final even more impressive was the fact she didn't initially qualify for the state championships.

Beasley finished seventh in the WPIAL, which had only three automatic qualifiers into the state meet, and she had to wait a couple of days until after the other PIAA district meets were over before she was informed she had earned an at-large spot at the meet.

From there, all she had to do was once again go up against several of the top swimmers in the state, including WPIAL champion Jacquelyn Du of North Allegheny.

And instead of folding under the weight of all the talent around her, she moved up from an eighth seed to seventh place with a personal best time.

“I didn't do anything differently,” Beasley said. “I just wanted to swim like I did in the morning.”

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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