Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ellwood City Senior Prepping for Final Run at Title

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ellwood City Senior Prepping for Final Run at Title

Article excerpt

Taylor Petrak had a solid junior year, winning her third WPIAL individual title, but was unable to defend her PIAA Class 2A title in the 50-yard freestyle and finished second.

This season, Petrak is ready to end her high school career on a high note. But the independent from Ellwood City and Ohio State recruit is taking her time before she decides in what two events she will compete in at the WPIAL championships March 2-3 at Pitt's Trees Pool.

"I went to the Christmas Invitational at West Allegheny and, for me, I just have to get cut times for WPIALs and I don't have to do as many meets, so I swam the 200 free and 50 free there and I was able to get times I was happy with," Petrak said. "Last week I swam the 100 free and the 100 back(stroke) at Blackhawk. I'm not really sure what I'm going to swim, but I'm trying to figure out what I'll do best in."

As a freshman, Petrak won the WPIAL title in the 100 backstroke and finished second to Geibel's Emily Zimcosky in the 100 freestyle. In the 2015 WPIAL final she finished second to Zimcosky in both the 50 and 100 freestyles, but won her only PIAA Class 2A title to date in the 50 freestyle when Zimcosky pulled out of the state championships to concentrate on a distance event.

With both in the pool going head-to-head in 2016, they split their two events at the WPIAL finals with Petrak winning the 50 freestyle and Zimcosky taking the 100. But at the PIAA meet, it was all Zimcosky as she ended her career by bringing home Geibel's first two state swimming titles since 1978.

This time around, Petrak won't be looking over her shoulder at who was her toughest competitor. By the same token, she knows she'll be the pacesetter in whichever event she opts to swim and everybody will be trying to chase her down.

"I'm just deciding whether I want to do something else and maybe save my freestyle for something like YMCA nationals just because we have a full slate of meets after states," Petrak said. …

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