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Tapering for WPIALs proves too tough for Kolesar to overcome

| Sunday, March 16, 2014, 11:12 p.m.

LEWISBURG — To make it past the WPIAL meet, West Mifflin's Brad Kolesar insisted he and others had to taper for the 100-yard backstroke, a testament to how competitive the race was.

Cutting off training to rest and get his best time might have been reflected in Kolesar's WPIAL title, but it cost him Saturday at the PIAA Class AA swimming and diving championships at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.

Kolesar finished the race in 53.96 seconds, which had him in eight place, though still on the medal stand.

“Not happy, not disappointed. Last swim of high school. Wish it could have come out a little bit better,” Kolesar said. “I think it's just hard coming from the WPIAL compared to some of the other districts. We have to taper and compete to get where we are here.”

Kolesar, who swam a 52.54 at the WPIAL meet, wasn't the only one to suffer the letdown.

Hopewell's Logan Palochak was second at the WPIAL meet but didn't make it out of the prelims at states, finishing 25th with a time of 56.09 — almost a three-second increase.

Shady Side Academy's Brendan Leech was 10th at states, though his time suffered as well: from 53.80 to 54.24.

“It was anyone's race at WPIALs,” Kolesar said. “I just think that you have to try to get to the big show instead of just trying to make it. We all tapered just for that a little bit.

“You have to taper so much just to get here, so it's really hard to pull back from a taper, bump back up and come back down.”

Elizabeth Forward's Kam Faychak finished first in the consolation finals of the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.60, closing the race just as he wanted.

“In prelims, my last lap was real weak, but I thought I fixed that for the finals,” Faychak said. “You just really have to concentrate on it and think about it when you're swimming.”

Faychak's second lap in the prelims was 32.43. In the finals, it was 32.24.

Overall, the Mars boys won gold in the 400 freestyle relay, and the Planets claimed their first PIAA Class AA team title.

Other notable local finishes included Yough's Madison Nestor, who placed 16th in the breaststroke with a time of 1:09.11.

Thomas Jefferson's Jennifer Hill was 27th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:11.11.

West Allegheny's Jarod Kehl won his second PIAA title in as many days, taking gold in the 500 free with a time of 4:28.80.

Villa Maria Academy won the Class AA girls team title with 220 points. The top WPIAL team was South Fayette with 57.

Bailey Bonnett of Highlands was third in the 500 free (4:56.57), which Western York's Courtney Harnish won with a state-record time of 4:40.04.

Geibel's Emily Zimcosky snagged her second silver medal of the event with a time of 50.52 in the 100 free.

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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