By Eric Shultz
For The Daily Item
Many swimmers and divers from around the state will travel to Bucknell University to compete in the PIAA Class AA Swimming and Diving Championships today and Thursday for the first time.
Few, though, are arriving with the experience and resume of Mifflinburg's Adrianna Grabski.
Grabski will be competing in familiar territory, and not just because she is only about a 15-minute drive from Kinney Natatorium -- this will be her third trip to the Class AA girls state championships.
Grabski raced at the 2011 state championships as a freshman, placing second in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. She struck gold in both events the following year, and her 50-yard freestyle time of 23.2 seconds nearly broke the state record, set by Bloomsburg's Stef Williams in 1998 in 23.16 seconds.
Grabski is attempting to transition smoothly into more of a mid-distance capacity this year, though. While returning to the 100-yard freestyle, she is also set to compete in the 200-yard freestyle.
The decision was a personal one; Grabski said she wanted to do it for a new challenge.
"After being blessed with winning the state title, it was time to move on to something different," she said. "The 200 has been like a work in progress, and it's nice to have that challenge."
The move was one Jerry Foley approved of, too. Foley, head coach of the men's and women's swimming programs at Susquehanna University, also coaches Grabski at Sunbury's branch of the Greater Susquehanna Valley YMCA program. Grabski receives virtually all of her training from Foley, since Mifflinburg does not have a team.
Foley said he thought the 200-yard freestyle would be the next step in Grabski developing as a swimmer.
"I think it's actually her best event," Foley said. "I think she's really going to develop in that event over the next year and into her collegiate career. I think that's the event she'll ultimately be best at."