Knoch freshman Zukowski qualifies for WPIAL meet in 10 events
TribLIVE Sports Videos
During the third week of the WPIAL cross country season, Knoch freshman Brooke Zukowski suffered a stress fracture in her foot, slowing her preparation for swimming season.
Once she got back into swim mode, her kicks were limited and she couldn't push off the wall.
Now back near full strength, she has a high ceiling.
Zukowski has adapted well to varsity swimming, qualifying for the WPIAL Class AA championships in 10 events. She'll compete in two — the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke — when the championships are contested Feb. 27-28 at Pitt's Trees Pool. A strong performance could earn her a spot in the PIAA championship meet March 12-15 at Bucknell.
Zukowski admits she is nervous for the WPIAL meet but has a wide-eyed curiosity about the new experience.
“I just want to go for my best times no matter what,” Zukowski said. “I'm not too concerned about anything. If I get my best times, I'll be happy. That's all I can ask for.”
Already used to a grueling training schedule, she'll experience even more pruned hands and feet as she amps up her training for the WPIAL postseason. Longer practices are on tap for now, but like most competitive swimmers, she'll slow some in terms of preparation once it gets closer to meet time.
Knoch coach Rick Hassler didn't know what to expect out of Zukowski as a freshman, but he's quite pleased with her success.
“She swims all year round, and that's a plus,” Hassler said. “She's very dedicated and she's very competitive. She's got a thing about her that she's willing to push her teammates to make them better.”
While Zukowski is always willing to lend a helping hand, her teammates are always there for her, too. That speaks to the unity within the program.
“We are always positive with each other,” Zukowski said. “There's been a few times especially even with me, I'll have an awful race, and someone will come over and talk to me. I'll get myself together and make the next race better.”
Zukowski takes in daily after-school practices at Knoch before she joins the Fox Chapel Killer Whales club team for further practice. She estimates she swims about 14,000 yards, or almost eight miles, in a normal day.
With all the swimming she does, combined with school work, she admits it can take its toll on her physically. But despite being exhausted at times, she fulfills her duties as a student-athlete.
Zukowski said she will do homework in between practices in the car, and also on the weekends. She tries to do as much homework as she can on the weekend so she can catch up on sleep during the week.
Her other WPIAL-qualifying events are the 50, 100, 200 and 500 freestyles, 200 freestyle medley, 100 backstroke and the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.
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.
- Route 22 closed in Delmont after tractor-trailer crash at cloverleaf
- Downie, Ehrhoff lead list of likely Penguins leaving in free agency
- Starkey: Cervelli’s inspiration
- More witness intimidation charges are filed against Plum teacher
- Pirates hope 1st baseman Alvarez starts to regain power stroke
- Presque Isle Downs cancels thoroughbred races due to running deer
- Vandergrift man accused of sexual assault
- Supreme Court justices ream EPA for ignoring costs to meet air standards
- Murrysville native Bullock vying for health magazine’s ‘Next Fitness Star’
- 80 percent of drivers found exceeding speed limit in Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park
- Penguins bringing back defenseman Cole with 3-year extension