Plum’s Taylor earns eighth-place medal at PIAA swim championships
After two previous trips to the PIAA Class AAA swimming championships, Plum junior Devan Taylor knew what to expect, from the routines of getting ready for a race to handling the high-intensity and festive atmosphere that is on display at Bucknell University.
Taylor channeled her focus and momentum from a record time in the 100-yard breaststroke at the WPIAL championships two weeks ago into an eighth-place finish Thursday evening.
“I’m really feeling a lot of excitement,” Taylor said shortly after she posted a finals time of 1 minute, 4.47 seconds.
“It shows me that all the hard work has paid off. I also really appreciate all the support from my coaches, teammates, family and friends. They all make this experience so great.”
Taylor moved up 15 spots from her 23rd-place finish in the 100 breast at states last year.
She also was the third WPIAL finisher behind runner-up Laura Goettler, a sophomore from Butler (1:01.80), and Moon junior Leah Baker (fourth, 1:02.90).
Earlier in the day Thursday, Taylor lowered her school-record time with a preliminary finish of 1:04.13. She recorded a 1:04.16 at WPIALs.
“I just wanted to go out in the finals and have some fun,” Taylor said. “I had such a great (prelim) swim here and at WPIALs. Honestly, I was just going out there for the fun of it. I wanted to see if I could finish higher, and whatever happened, happened.”
On Wednesday, Taylor came within four one-hundredths of a second of bettering her own school record in the 200 individual medley. She lowered her seed time — a 2:09.97 from WPIALs — and finished 22nd (2:09.68).
“This year was more than I could ask for, and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do next year,” Taylor said.
Plum coach Shawn Haupt said he was excited to see Taylor swim so well.
“It’s just so rewarding to finally see her up on that podium,” Haupt said. “To see her so excited, that’s what its all about. You work so hard all year so you can feel good at big meets like this.”
Kiski Area senior Josh Madzy capped his high school career with a 19th-place finish in the boys 100 backstroke.
He swam to a time of 52.16, exactly one half second off his seed time set at WPIALs and also a half second away from 16th and a trip to the consolation finals.
Madzy, who also swam to 26th in the 200 freestyle (1:45.08), competed at the PIAA championships for the first time.
He just missed a trip to states as a sophomore, and he didn’t swim at the high school level last year.
“I was pretty happy with my (PIAA) swims,” Madzy said. “I wasn’t expecting my best times at states. It’s tough to maintain everything and find that right balance of rest and yardage (in practice) for two weeks after WPIALs.”
Madzy was an at-large time qualifier for states in both events. He found out he made it when the PIAA released the additional qualifiers four days after the WPIAL championships concluded on March 2.
“I was pretty confident I was going to make it in both, but it was still a great feeling to finally know for sure,” Madzy said.
Madzy leaves Kiski swimming with five school records. He lowered his own records in both the 200 free and 100 back at WPIALs, and he is the record holder in the 500 free.
He also is a part of the record-setting 200 medley and 400 free relay teams.
The Class AA individuals and relays take center stage Friday morning with the preliminary swims in the 200 medley relay, 200 free, 200 IM, 50 free, 100 fly and 200 free relay.