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Cranberry resident is record-setting masters swimmer


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By Karen Kadilak
Saturday, May 17, 2014, 6:54 p.m.

As part of a bucket list for swimming, Janet McDonough of Cranberry wanted to set a meet record at the YMCA Masters National Championship last month in Sarasota, Fla.

McDonough, 55, exceeded her goal, breaking four meet records individually, plus another in a relay split.

“I wanted to hit a record, but didn't expect five,” said McDonough, a former Gateway High School and West Virginia University swimmer who became serious about masters events six years ago.

Competing in the women's 55-59 age group for the South Hills YMCA, McDonough posted marks of two minutes, 31.71 seconds in the 200-yard backstroke, 1:08.67 in the 100 individual medley, 1:08.73 in the 100 backstroke and 2:30.79 in the 200 individual medley.

She also won the 50 backstroke with a time of 32.74 seconds — a mark she bettered on a 55-plus 200 medley relay that placed third. Her time in the relay (31.63) surpassed a record set by an individual in the 50 backstroke (32.29) a year ago.

McDonough also was on a winning 400 freestyle relay team and part of women's and mixed 200 freestyle relays that finished third and fourth.

It was the second time in a year McDonough broke multiple records in a meet.

At the National Senior Games in Cleveland last summer, she set or shared standards in the 50 backstroke (32.25), 200 individual medley (2:31.06), 100 individual medley (1:09.02), 200 backstroke (2:31.74), 50 freestyle (27.83) and 100 backstroke (1:08.45).

McDonough, who swims up to 3,000 yards, three days a week at the YMCA in Cranberry, has cut back on training since September because of a shoulder tear.

She has been working with a strength and conditioning coach and is considering surgery after the FINA World Masters Championships from July 27 to Aug. 10 in Montreal.

Eventually, she may swim just recreationally.

“I may not have the range of motion to compete,” said McDonough, who is married, has one daughter and works in product development management for a food service company.

McDonough credits training partners for much of her success.

“There were about 12 of us in the pool (recently),” she said. “That's what keeps me going.”

McDonough said she will be happy to finish in the top three in any of her six events at the FINA championships.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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