Greensburg YMCA swimmers claim state gold in 3 events
Greensburg YMCA swimmers Kaden Faychak and Patton Graziano struck gold again at the Pennsylvania YMCA state swimming championship.
Faychak won the 50-yard breaststroke (30.45 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1 minute, 6.82 seconds) and Graziano the 100 backstroke (59.15) in the boys 11-12 age group at the meet March 22-24 at Penn State.
It was the third consecutive year and the second in the 11-12 age group they earned individual titles.
They swam with George Horey and Lukas Mayo on the 200 medley relay team that won (1:54.32).
The Stingrays (120 points) placed second in the division, just seven points behind first-place York.
“The four boys swam really well,” said Greensburg YMCA assistant coach Kim Graziano, Patton’s mother. “There are some amazingly talented swimmers at this meet every year, and I am always amazed as to how well our boys swim.
“Kaden and Patton always surprise me. They are pretty tough competitors and super fun to watch.”
Faychak, an Elizabeth Forward seventh grader, said winning three events was awesome.
“I had some injuries, which kept me out of the pool all summer and all the way up until mid-October,” Faychak said. “My practice had to be more intense once I was able to get back into the pool.”
Graziano (27.38) just missed winning the 50 backstroke, finishing second to Jake Kennedy of the Ridley Area YMCA Stingrays (27.37).
“I was pretty pleased with the meet,” said Graziano, a Penn-Trafford seventh grader. “I dropped all of my times and did lifetime bests in every event.
“Taking second in the 50 back was a little tough, knowing that it was only (by) 0.01 seconds. But I was at least happy that I did my best time and broke our team record.”
Faychak (27.71) placed third in the 50 butterfly and Graziano (2:19.53) third in the 200 individual medley.
Among other age groups, William Crites placed second in the boys 15-and-over 100 breaststroke (58.76) and third in the 200 breaststroke (2:10.86). He qualified for the YMCA Short Course Nationals April 1-5 in Greensboro, N.C., but is not competing.
“He dropped time from the district meet, which can be rare for high school swimmers,” Greensburg YMCA head coach Dave Paul said. “They have so many championship meets in a row.”
Crites, a Greensburg Salem senior who placed second at the WPIAL Class AA championship in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, said going from high school to YMCA swimming was hard.
“I have been on taper for way over a month,” Crites said. “I haven’t been anywhere near the yardage I should be at.”
Crites plans to compete at the YMCA Long Course Nationals in the summer.
“Billy had a super year,” Kim Graziano said. “I think that he surprised everyone except himself.”
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.