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Ringgold's Paterra following brother's footsteps

| Friday, Feb. 14, 2003

MONONGAHELA - Ringgold junior Lauren Paterra grew up in the shadow of record-breaking swimming performances.

Her brother, Matt, was an exceptional swimmer for the Rams and captured school history with the fastest times in the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and as a member of the 200 medley relay team.

"I always thought my brother was a lot better and naturally the boys' times are a lot faster," Paterra said sweetly. "I certainly had expectations to succeed, but I definitely did not expect to break records like Matt."

Last Tuesday at Mount Pleasant, Paterra broke the Ringgold girl's 200 I.M. record with a 2:33.86 - adding a third individual mark to her resume and effectively passing her older sibling in that category.

She also owns the 100 butterfly (1:08.40) and 100 backstroke (1:06.59) records. The latter she broke as a freshman, only to best it three more times - most recently earlier this season versus Belle Vernon Area.

"It's kind of expected by all, but it's pretty surprising to me I'm doing as well as my brother," Paterra said. "You just keep picking a goal and shooting for it."

Of all Peterra's accomplishments, she did fail to qualify for the challenging Class AAA championships at Trees Pool next weekend - missed in the backstroke by exactly one second.

"It's very disappointing; you work so hard and your times come down, but it's not enough," Paterra said. "The (Class AAA) times are a lot lower and it's hard because you keep working hard then you hit a plateau and keep hitting your same time."

In a school where football is king and swimming is an afterthought at best, Paterra is looking forward to some help from next year's girls freshmen class.

"We're still building and we're supposed to get some good girl swimmers coming in from the middle school program," Paterra said. "It's helping a lot because by ninth grade, you have to already know swimming well to succeed."

Just one week after finishing her third season as the Rams' lone winner at Peters Township, Paterra is already talking about next season like it's next month.

"I'd like to try for another record and maybe as part of relay team," Paterra said. "My big goal is to get really low in the minute in the 100 back; I don't want to make WPIALs by a hair, I want to go there with a good, solid time."

How many other Ringgold records will fall in the process is anyone's guess.

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