By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
When swimmers around the state take a look at Saturday’s High School Open times, they may not see that Mifflinburg’s Adriana Grabski or Caitlin Foley of Lewisburg swam their fastest times of the year.
Yet, both states qualifiers are swimming as fast or faster than last year. And that won’t bode well for the competition at the state finals come mid-March.
Grabski — fighting off a bad cold — was happy with her times, but at Franklin and Marshall last week, she was swimming pretty good.
“I want to break my records from last year,” she said. “There is no way I am going to be slower.”
Grabski attributes here times this year to a rigorous weight-room work-out routine.
“I have been really confident with my training and it’s been a lot more intense than ever before,” she added. “I am comfortable that I can pop-out my best times at states.”
Grabski collected four first-place finishes last week at the Franklin and Marshall meet.
Danville sophomore Joe Malafronte, a district qualifier last year, is also swimmer some faster times. He noted that his current times are at the same as they were at the end of last year.
“That’s a plus,” he said with a smile on the times. “I’ve been working a lot on my technique and my form of stroke. I haven’t been worrying about distance in the pool this year, rather the emphasis on my technique.”
Danville has had one meet so far and Malafronte is happy with what he sees from his teammates.
“As a team, we are getting better since the start of the season,” he said.
Ironmen head coach Ryann McConnell is pleasantly pleased with the progress of her young team through Saturday’s invitational.
“We’ve been working on our turns and starts and breathing and getting the kids who are new to swimming used to it on a daily basis,” he said. “We have a lot of potential on this team and the later in the year we go, the better we are going to get.”
McConnell said she used the invitational to get experience for kids who qualified for states to swim where the finals will be held and to see different teams from different leagues and districts.
Foley, who finished fourth in the finals in the backstroke last year and ninth in the 200 IM, is also seeing her times lowered.
“I have to attribute a lot of that to working on my technique,” she said. “I’m a second better in my splits for the backstroke and I am developing my underwater run (dolphin kick off the wall) better and that is also helping with my times.”
Green Dragons head coach Derek Updergraff is pleased with his teams effort so far.
“Michael (Sumfest) had a good swim in the breaststroke and Adon (Shapiro) had a good swim in the 500 (Saturday),” he said. “Overall we’ve been swimming well and the kids are having fast times so far. (Saturday) was a good indication of where we are against different teams and the kids get to see some fast swimmers from around the state.”