William Crites didn’t know if he would come out on top in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association meet last Saturday at Derry High School.
But the Greensburg Salem senior was glad to have to opportunity.
Crites, who now owns the top Class AA boys 100 breaststroke time in the state this season at 59.20 seconds, edged Belle Vernon senior Robert Spekis for the title and established a new meet record in the process.
Spekis, the defending WPIAL Class AA champion in the 100 breast, is second in the state with his 59.40 at the WCCA meet.
“Going in, I knew the heat was loaded with an extreme amount of talent,” Crites said. “It wasn’t just Spekis. You had Patrick Cavanaugh from Franklin Regional and Todd Wilson from Hempfield and others. I swam my race, stuck to my plan, and the rest is history.”
Crites hopes for WPIAL gold in the 100 breast this year after taking fourth in 2018.
“Billy’s greatest thing he has going for him is he loves to compete,” first-year Greensburg Salem coach Bill Salathe said. “He visualizes every part of his race and is so focused each time. He wants to be the best and face the best swimmers.”
Crites is deciding between the 200 freestyle and the 100 freestyle for his second individual event for WPIALs.
He placed fifth in the 200 free at WPIALs last year, and he held a lead in the event at the WCCA meet before Penn-Trafford sophomore Austin Prokopec came out on top. Crites finished second with a time of 1:48.85.
“He went out a little too fast and just wasn’t able to keep it on the last 100, especially the last 50,” Salathe said. “He will definitely learn from that.”
Crites owns five individual school records — the 100 breast, 100 butterfly, 50 free, 200 free and 200 IM — and is a part of the record-setting 200 medley and 200 free relays.
He broke John Spohn’s 1975 100 butterfly record at Mt. Pleasant three weeks ago with a time of 54.90.
“We have five meets left before WPIALs, so he’s hoping to go after a couple of other records as well,” Salathe said.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at [email protected] or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.