NA grad Wright already making splash for Virginia swimming program
North Allegheny graduate and Virginia rising freshman swimmer Jack Wright has yet to set foot on campus and already has contributed.
Wright, 18, qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, one of 30 Cavaliers expected to do so.
“I know it was a focus for him for this summer as it has been our program’s goal as well,” Virginia coach Todd DeSorbo said. “Jack is a very talented athlete.
“We expect he will make a significant impact in our program at the conference and national level quickly.”
Wright (1 minute, 50.78 seconds) placed 31st in the men’s 200 long course freestyle in the Phillips 66 National Championships July 31-Aug. 4 at Stanford, less than a second than the qualifying time (1:50.79).
Wright (3:56.97) made the cut in the 400 freestyle in the preliminaries by close to a second. He went on to place 32nd in the event (4:01.33).
Wright said he has been aware of the time standards since they came out last summer. Since then, he said it has been a goal of his to get some of those times by the end of this summer.
“My goal at every meet is to go best times, but at trials, it would be amazing if I were able to get a second swim in my events by qualifying for semifinals or finals,” said Wright, the 2019 WPIAL Class AAA champion and ’18 and ’19 PIAA champion in the boys 200 freestyle. “I want to get experience at the trials meet to set myself up best for the next one.
“Being at perhaps the biggest meet in the country will give me confidence going into some college meets. This summer has been spent mostly preparing for nationals, but that will also help me with the training at Virginia.”
Wright was one of two Allegheny North Swim Club members to qualify in two events.
North Allegheny rising senior Rick Mihm finished 30th in the 400 individual medley (4:25.53) and 27th in the 200 individual medley (2:03.02) at nationals.
Mihm, the 2019 WPIAL and ’18 PIAA champion in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle, also made cuts in the preliminaries. His time in the 400 IM (4:24.49) was better than in the final.
The 200 IM was won by Olympic star Ryan Lochte, who came back after a suspension.
Allegheny North coach Patrick Wenzel said the club has qualified at least two athletes for the past two trials. He said Wright and Mihm are the second pair to qualify before they leave for college.
“They’ve been training hard during a very weather-affected summer,” Wenzel said.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.