Trib HSSN Girls Swimmer of the Week: Gateway’s Olivia Livingston
Olivia Livingston set the bar for the rest of the WPIAL in the second week of December when she established a time of 23.49 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle against Upper St. Clair.
She was coming off a trip to USA Swimming’s Junior Winter Nationals in North Carolina, and that time has stood several top-level tests since then.
Then, Livingston posted a season-best of 52.05 in the 100 free against Franklin Regional on Feb. 1.
The Gateway junior’s mission now is to carry the season-long momentum she’s developed into defense of her sprint freestyle titles at WPIALs Feb. 28 and March 1 at Pitt’s Trees Pool.
“You know what you’re going to get from Olivia,” Gateway coach Jonathan Moore said. “It’s a fast race all the time. She’s always focused. Her head’s always in the game.”
In addition to producing back-to-back WPIAL crowns in the Class AAA 50 and 100 freestyle, Livingston also owns two straight state titles in the 50 free. She set the state record (22.73) in 2017 and tied the mark last year.
“Practices have been going pretty well, and I’m excited to see what I can do this year,” Livingston said.
Livingston said while she doesn’t want to get ahead of herself with her current focus on WPIALs, she does hope to get another opportunity at the 50 free title at states and also challenge for the 100 free championship after runner-up finishes in 2017 and last season.
“Olivia is on track, just as she’s been the past couple of years. She’s really focused in on WPIALs with the goal of doing well at states again,” Moore said.
Livingston will compete at the Speedo Sectionals Spring Long Course March 28 to 31 in Buffalo, and she hopes to challenge the 50 and 100 cuts for the U.S. Olympic Trials in June 2020.
“It would be great to get (the qualifying cuts) there,” Livingston said.
When Gateway and Fox Chapel met in section competition Jan. 24, Livingston faced freshman standout Zoe Skirboll in both the 50 and 100 free.
Skirboll came out on top in both races.
“Olivia doesn’t shy away from competition,” Moore said. “It was great to see two top WPIAL swimmers going head to head in a dual meet and pushing each other. A lot of times, you see these kids out in front by themselves. It was exciting for the coaches, the swimmers and the crowd. You could sense the anticipation.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at [email protected] or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.