Geibel brother-sister duo finishes 3rd, 2nd at PIAA swim meet
LEWISBURG — It's not uncommon to see swimmers wearing warmup jackets on the pool deck.
It is strange, however, at least around Central Pennsylvania, to see one with “Paco” where the swimmer's name should be, stitched in gold, cursive writing.
That moniker would belong to John Paul Zimcosky, Geibel's sprinter with the goofy nickname.
Zimcosky finished third in the 50-yard freestyle Friday at the PIAA Class AA swimming and diving championships at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium and afterward explained the odd nickname.
“When I was younger and going into Spanish in my grade school, my mom thought John Paul translated to Juan Paco. Completely wrong,” said Zimcosky, whose time was 21.44 seconds.
Zimcosky said what his mom probably meant was Juan Pablo.
“At that time there was a hockey player named Paco,” Zimcosky said. “She got me a hockey jersey, and it turned out she was way wrong. We just kind of stuck with it.
“I've had that nickname for maybe about 10 years now. It just kind of stuck. My coaches call me that. My friends in school call me that.”
Most around the WPIAL call Zimcosky something else: fast.
The Class AA champion in the 50 and 100 free, Zimcosky had a little bit slower of a flip turn than he would have liked, but overall he was pleased with his race.
“I felt like I came up a little bit early after my flip turn, but it's the 50; it's a crapshoot. If you mess up on your start or turn, you're done,” Zimcosky said. “Still, I was proud of my swim.”
John Paul Zimcosky's sister, Emily, can relate.
She finished second in the 50 free in the second of two evening sessions with a time of 23.21, providing a tough challenge for first-place Adriana Grabski of Mifflinburg, who touched in 23.10.
“I just wanted to have a good start, really break out and have a better turn than I did in prelims,” she said. “I just wanted to try and stay as close to Adriana as I could; she's an awesome swimmer, and I'm extremely honored that I get to swim next to her.”
Emily Zimcosky said that, in the preliminary round Friday morning, she got too close to the wall and worried that her foot might get stuck in the gutter.
“It's just one of those things that happens,” Emily Zimcosky said. “Especially in the 50; if you don't nail everything, you're in trouble.”
Two WPIAL swimmers won PIAA titles during the boys portion of the event — West Allegheny's Jarod Kehl in the 200 free and Mars' Christopher Georgiadis in the 200 IM.
Other notable, local finishes included Mt. Pleasant's Fallon Nelson taking 18th in the 200 free (1:58.96).
Laurel Highlands' boys 200 freestyle relay team of Brandon Thomas, Jacob Hughes, Lucas Thomas and Logan Knoyer was ninth in 1:29.54.
The two-day event concludes Saturday with six events: 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay, as well as girls diving.
John Paul and Emily Zimcosky will swim the 100 free.