Trib HSSN Girls Swimmer of the Week: North Allegheny’s Molly Smyers
In her WPIAL debut last March, North Allegheny’s Molly Smyers bested Upper St. Clair graduate Abby Matheny for the Class AAA girls 500-yard freestyle title and placed second to Matheny in the 200 free.
The sophomore distance specialist returned this season with the goal of defending her 500 crown and taking her place atop the standings in the 200.
Smyers’ mission, North Allegheny coach Patrick Wenzel said, also includes performance improvements at the PIAA meet at Bucknell University where she took 11 th in the 200 consolation final and placed 18 th in the 500.
“Molly is such a fierce competitor,” Wenzel said. “She works very hard and sets her goals very high. She likes the process, and likes to put the work in every day. I am really excited for her.”
Smyers was tested at the annual All-American High School Invitational Jan. 12 in Wilkes-Barre.
Against some of the top competition from the central and eastern part of the state, Smyers captured the 200 free by more than a second (1:57.44) and finished runner-up in the 500 by seven one-hundredths of a second.
“She was very close to her top time in the 500 at the invitational,” Wenzel said.
That top time in the 500 (5:06.44) came against Upper St. Clair on Dec. 18.
Smyers went toe-to-toe with Mt. Lebanon senior Sophia Donati in a dual meet five days earlier. Donati edged Smyers by one-half second in the 100 and by nine one-hundredths of a second in the 200.
They are 1-2 in those events on the WPIAL Class AAA performance lists at WPIAL.org.
Donati also owns the top time in the 500 (5:06.32), and Smyers is second.
“I love watching fast swimming and great competition,” Wenzel said. “They were two very good races (between Donati and Smyers). I would’ve liked them to have gone the other way, but you learn from the losses just like you learn from the wins.”
Wenzel said that even though Smyers is more of a distance-oriented swimmer, she had been sprinting well, and he placed her in the 100 at the Mt. Lebanon meet to “see what she could do.”
“She’s such a good all-around swimmer that I could put her in any event in the lineup and she would do well,” Wenzel said.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-388-5825, [email protected] or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.