After setting school record, Pine-Richland’s Allen turns focus toward WPIAL success

Saturday, February 13, 2021 | 9:01 AM

Delaney Allen was exhausted as she climbed out of the pool after swimming her hardest in the 50-yard freestyle on Jan. 28 against North Allegheny when she started hearing screams of joy coming from her teammates.

“I was so tired that when I ran that race that I didn’t even look up at the board, but I looked over at my teammates and they were all so happy, so I kind of knew that I got a good time,” Allen said. “They were all pointing at our school record board, which was right across from me and I thought to myself ‘Did I get the record?’ Then I finally looked at the board and I was just so proud.”

Allen, a sophomore, not only set a new Pine-Richland record in the 50 freestyle (24.32 seconds), but she posted the top time in WPIAL Class AAA.

She shattered her previous best time of 25.4 by nearly a second and a half. A jump in time that drastic in one meet is a rarity in swimming.

How did she do it?

Well, aside from her typical pre-race routine of listening to rap music to pump her up two heats prior to her turn and achieving laser focus once she’s on the blocks, she credited a heightened sense of competitiveness going into the race.

“(North Allegheny) is a very competitive school and everyone knows you always want to beat NA,” Allen said. “I feel like the competition from all of those girls and them being so good really pushed me to do better that night.

“It brought up my confidence a lot and it has made me want to work even harder in practices to keep going and get better.”

Allen comes from a swimming family. Her mother, Kristen, was a WPIAL champion at Pine-Richland and an NAIA national champion at Westminster in the 100 butterfly. Her older sister, Rylie, swam at Pine-Richland and is currently at West Point and competes in triathlon. Allen has been swimming since she was 4 years old and has been hooked ever since.

“Basically since I could swim one length of the pool I’ve been into it,” Allen said. “My coaches really push me a lot and get me through it every day, so that’s what is keeping me going.”

Along with the 50 freestyle, Allen swims the 100 freestyle, the 100 butterfly and in the 200 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays. She also throws shot put on the Rams’ track and field team.

The 50 freestyle is her favorite of all the races she swims.

“I really like to sprint and I like the speed aspect of swimming,” Allen said. “Since you can go fast in that stroke it fits my style. It’s a very competitive stroke.”

Allen qualified for WPIALs as a freshman and did not place. Considering her growth this year as a swimmer her expectation is to change that this time around.

“Since I’m currently the top seed I really want to win, but as long as I swim fast and get a good time that would be fine,” Allen said. “The ultimate goal though is to win. It’s kind of been built up to that since I got this time. Since I started high school swimming my goal has been to go to WPIALs and earn a medal.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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