Caprara caps junior season with seventh in 100 breast
Last year at the PIAA Class AAA swimming championships, Gateway's Alex Caprara finished outside of the top 16 swimmers who competed in the consolation and championship heats of the 100 breaststroke.
He wasn't going to let that happen again this year.
In the preliminaries Saturday morning at Bucknell University, the Gators junior cut through the water in 57.68 seconds.
The time, a personal best, put him in the finals in the evening, and he landed in seventh after his championship-heat swim of 57.90.
Caprara came into the event at states seeded eighth after taking fourth at WPIALs.
“Alex was definitely happy, and I was proud of him because that was a goal that he set for himself,” Gateway head coach Jason Kunkle said.
“He was able get on the medals stand as a junior and experience that success.”
Caprara also swam the 200 IM on Friday, and he moved up 11 placed from his 24th seed.
He was 13th after his preliminary swim, and he slipped one spot to 14th after the consolation-finals heat with a time of 1:56.55.
Senior Drew Nosbisch swam the final individual event of his high school career in the 100 breast on Saturday.
Seeded third after taking second at WPIALs, the Grove City College recruit was able to make it back to the consolation finals, and he ended in 11th overall with a time of 57.75, almost one second faster than his prelim time of 58.68.
“He was able to drop the most amount of time out of any of the breaststrokers from the preliminaries to the evening finals,” Kunkle said.
“That was the perfect example of a competitor going out as best he could.”
Nosbisch also swam in the consolation finals of the 100 fly on Friday, and he finished 16th with a time of 51.59.
“Drew will be missed next year as a leader in and out of the water. He's going to do a great job at Grove City,” Kunkle said.
Caprara and Nosbisch joined juniors Jake Beley and Alex Bolen on the 200 free and 400 free relay events. Beley swam at states for the second year in a row, while Bolen made his PIAA debut.
The quartet swam in the consolation finals of the 200 free relay and placed 15th with a time of 1:28.10. They moved up four spots from their seed placement
On Saturday, they took 21st in the 400 free relay (3:16.28).
“As a coach, you want everyone to experience swimming in the night session at states,” Kunkle said.
“There's a different feel and excitement. The energy is unbelievable. The thing is that with WPIALs being so competitive, you don't see many relays or individuals dropping time at states. They knew both events were going to be competitive, and they posted fantastic times. All four received all-state honors, and that's a tribute to their hard work.”
Monroeville resident Alexandra Elizeus, a senior at Oakland Catholic, earned two medals in her final PIAA meet.
She helped the 400 free relay take third overall and set a school record with a time of 3:29.35.
The relay's time also earned them All-American status.
Elizeus also was a part of the 200 free relay that placed fourth and set a school record in a time of 1:36.96.
The quartet was seeded 16th, and it dropped more than two seconds from its WPIAL time of 1:39.05.
Elizeus and the other members of the 200 medley relay narrowly missed setting a school record.
The relay placed 10th, and its time of 1:48.73 was 25 one-hundredths of a second away from the top school mark.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.