By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
— LEWISBURG -- Fifteen years after she ruled the swimming pool, former Bloomsburg high school swimmer Stef Williams, assistant coach for the men's and women's swimming team at the University of Georgia, was on hand Thursday to watch the coronation of a new queen of the pools.
Mifflinburg junior Adriana Grabski broke the last of Williams' records in the 100 freestyle at the PIAA Class AA Girls Swimming and Diving Championships at the Kenneth G. Langone Athletics & Recreation Center at Bucknell University.
Grabski's winning time of 49.57 seconds established a state record and was .04 seconds faster than Williams swam (49.61) in 1998. It was Grabski's second gold medal in two days, coming a day after she broke Williams' mark in the 200-yard freestyle (1:47.05).
"I thought my records would have fallen a little bit quicker, especially with the suit era in 2008-2009," Williams said.
Grabski took the lead from the start and was starting to pull away from the field by the end of the first lap.
"With the 100, you can't really pace anything, you just go all out," she said.
Grabski felt the record came about during her second 25 meters.
"It was a lot stronger than the previous races," she said. "I felt like my kick was going a lot faster and at the end I just had to keep on going and go hard."
She swam a time of 49.74 seconds in the morning 100 preliminary.
Grabski, who started swimming when she was five, was aware that Williams was in the crowd last night after the meet.
"I heard from people that she was there and was happy that a local was able to break her records," Grabski said. "She's such a big name and we're always looking back at her records and I was like, 'she was before her time.' Her times were incredible and she's just an incredible athlete and a great person."
Grabski added that she wanted to break the 50-second barrier in both the 100 and 200.
"That 200 free time, I'm just so blown away with that time," she added.
Her teammate at the Sunbury YMCA, Lewisburg's Emily Maxwell, a senior, made the 100 final and tied for seventh with a time of 52.78 seconds.
"It was my last race and it was exciting as I know I have four years ahead of me, but I am going to miss my teammates," Maxwell said.
Maxwell's time in the final tied her best-ever for the event.
"I have nationals in a few weeks, so I know I am going to get better there."
In the 100 backstroke, Lewisburg sophomore Caitlin Foley finished fourth with a time of 57.94 seconds, just .05 seconds off of the third-place time.
"That's my best time," she said of the event. "My backstroke got so much faster this year and I moved up a place from last year (fifth) and I am just so happy."
Foley attributes her quicker times this year to lifting weights and giving up soccer to get an early start on training.
"It was hard to give up soccer as I played it for a very long time, but I am so glad that it paid off," she said.