The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 25, 2014

Grabski is Daily Item Swimmer of the Year

MIFFLINBURG — She’s come a long way from the girl who used to hang on the lane lines at the Mifflinburg Community Pool, crying because she didn’t want to finish.

Yes, that was a long time ago for Mifflinburg’s Adriana Grabski. The Wildcats phenom, who will graduate next month, leaves behind a legacy that includes six PIAA gold medals.

For her efforts in 2013-14, a year in which she won two more gold medals at states, Grabski is The Daily Item Swimmer of the Year. It’s the fourth straight year she’s earned the honor.

“My senior year, it was definitely memorable,” Grabski says. “I had a lot of family and school support — the most I’ve ever had (from school). That was the icing on the cake. There were a lot of teachers, faculty and administrators.”

The daughter of Glenn and Elizabeth Grabski, Adriana is headed to Virginia Tech in the fall. She’ll swim for an up-and-coming ACC program that sent seven women to the NCAA championships this season.

“My last visit, the atmosphere (at Virginia Tech) was really great,” Grabski says. “Driving into Blacksburg, it’s like a bigger version of Lewisburg. And they have the No. 1 (collegiate) dining service in the country — that’s important for a swimmer. ... My aunt and her family live 40 minutes away. I know they’re going to be coming over to see my meets. It will be nice for my parents to have a place to crash.”

Grabski, who trains with the Sunbury YMCA team, realized early on that she had a talent for swimming. But she didn’t develop a passion for the sport until — ironically — she won two silver medals at states her freshman year.

“I was the biggest slacker on my team,” she says. “I didn’t take swimming very seriously; I just did it for fun.

“What really hit me to have the drive that I have now was, when I got second at states, I wasn’t very happy. I was like, ‘I want to do better than this.’ I did a complete 180.”

Her freshman year, Grabski took silver in the 50 free and 100 free. She came back the next year and took gold in both of those events.

Then, as a junior in 2013, she went for the double gold in the 100 and 200 free. Not only did she do it, but she broke the state record in both events.

“The 200 was a new challenge, and I was able to conquer that with a state record,” she says. “I wanted to shoot for the 50 (record) my senior year.”

Although she didn’t re-set the 50 record this year — she had set the mark in 2012 only to see Villa Maria Academy’s Sarah Hitchens lower it to 22.91 last year when Grabski didn’t compete in the event — she took first yet again.

“Speaking for all athletes, you’re never satisfied,” she says. “It just makes me more hungry for my next four years of college.

“Everyone has their goals and you always want to reach them. That’s what really gives me the motivation and the drive.”

At Virginia Tech, Grabski plans on swimming the freestyle events again, and she’ll do the relays.

“I was able to go down two weeks ago and see the coaches,” she says. “I’m very excited. It’s a whole new chapter.”

Since the collegiate swimming season doesn’t begin until later in the fall, Grabski had the option of whether or not she wanted to head to Blacksburg and start training in the summer. She declined, knowing that she’ll probably be spending the following three summers there.

“This is my last summer to be with family and friends,” she says. “And I’ll be training hard here.”

As if there were any doubt.

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