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Geibel siblings carry top seeds into WPIAL Swimming Championships

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Bill Shirley | Daily Courier
Geibel's Emily Zimcosky (left) and her brother, John Paul Zimcosky, are the top seeds in their respective 50 freestyle events heading into the WPIAL meet Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Pitt's Trees Pool.
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Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 12:26 a.m.

In the world of high school swimming, high seeds in big tournaments bring high expectations. When the WPIAL Class AA Championships take place Thursday and Friday at Pitt's Trees Pool, perhaps nobody will be dealing with higher expectations than Geibel siblings Emily and John Paul Zimcosky.

Each swimmer, who is coached by Laurel Highlands, will be competing in two individual events, and there is the expectation that each will shine. Emily Zimcosky, a sophomore, is seeded first in the 50 freestyle (24.08) and the 100 freestyle (52.27).

John Paul Zimcosky, a senior, is seeded first in the 50 freestyle (22.21) and eighth in the 100 freestyle (50.21).

High expectations can bring about extra pressure.

Both will try to limit that form of unnecessary stress as much as possible.

“I feel a bit of pressure, but I don't like to think, I like to swim,” John Paul said.

John Paul competed in each of the short freestyles at WPIALs last year, placing fifth in the 50 and 10th in the 100. He's hoping for better results.

“Hopefully I'll be another WPIAL champion for Geibel and better my time in both events,” he said.

While confident, John Paul understands success simply won't be handed to him because he is seeded highly.

“Everyone will be tapered, so I can't just assume that my time will be good enough to win,” John Paul said. “I have to expect the unexpected and give it all I can.”

Emily Zimcosky also will be giving it all she can as she tries to live up to the hype of being a top-seeded athlete in not one, but two races. She won the WPIAL championship in the 100 freestyle last year. She's hoping for a double-celebration this year.

“I'd like to win both and come close to the WPIAL records,” she said. “But I try to enjoy it more than anything.”

She noted winning won't be easy, especially in two events.

However, she knows what it takes to be successful.

“You go to every meet expecting everybody to be at their best,” Emily said. “I just want to go in confident and expect a good race and focus on the little things.”

The siblings will each swim in the 50 freestyle Thursday and the 100 freestyle Friday.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at

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