Belle Vernon’s Ian Shahan shatters state record in final high school meet
Friday, March 19, 2021 | 9:47 PM
In his final high school meet, Ian Shahan put his stamp on the PIAA state record book.
The Belle Vernon senior set a record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20 seconds flat, bettering the previous record of 20.45.
“I knew it was going to be a fight,” Shahan said.
Shahan said he expected another fast race and was excited to be right next to Neshannock senior Conner McBeth. The two finished tied for the WPIAL 50 free title with record swims of 20.36.
They were the top two seeds Friday evening. McBeth finished a close second and also surpassed the previous state record, finishing with a time of 20.26.
“Coming out of WPIALs with the tie with Conner, I knew we were both under (the record). I felt it was just going to be a matter of who got to the wall first this time,” Shahan said. “Like I’ve always said, Conner is one of the greatest guys that I’ve raced my whole swimming career, all 12-ish years of it. It was kind of bittersweet when we were talking behind the block. That time and that swim is going to hold a special place in my heart.”
Shahan came back one event later and defended his 100 butterfly title with a time of 48.77. He won it two years ago and was the No. 1 seed last year before the PIAA canceled the Class AA state meet over growing covid concerns.
In all, Shahan, a U.S. Military Academy recruit, finishes with six individual state titles and seven WPIAL individual golds. He was runner-up twice at states as a freshman and runner-up in the 100 fly at his freshman WPIAL meet.
“I am very pleased with my accomplishments, individually and with my relay teammates the past four years,” Shahan said. “It’s a little bittersweet to know it’s coming to an end, but it’s been a great ride.”
Southmoreland’s Henry Miller didn’t get a chance to debut at states last year as a freshman, but he was there Friday.
The WPIAL 100 breast champion is traveling home with a bronze medal in the event after swimming to a time of 58.07. But he hoped for a better fate after coming in as the No. 1 seed (57.13).
“I’m a little disappointed in myself,” Miller said. “I added time. It just wasn’t a good swim. That’s really all there is to it. I just have to train harder and get back at it and be ready for next season.”
Miller also swam in the 100 butterfly as the 12th seed, and he held his place with a time of 52.92.
Belle Vernon added a trio of medals in individual and relay events.
The 200 free relay of Shahan and fellow seniors Garrett Ursiny, Cody Danto and Sam West raced to a fifth-place finish in a time of 1:27.83.
The Leopards’ 400 free relay of Ursiny, Danto, West and Shahan capped the meet with a swim to seventh (3:15.36).
West ended up tied for eighth in the 200 free with a time of 1:46.52.
Belle Vernon’s two-point advantage over Erie Cathedral Prep in the 400 free relay allowed the Leopards to pull into a fifth-place tie with the Ramblers in the boys team standings. Each tallied 109 points.
The Mt. Pleasant girls 200 free relay, the WPIAL champion, picked up a seventh-place medal Friday. Junior Ashlyn Hornick teamed with sophomores Reegan Brown, SaraJo Gardner and McKenna Mizikar to swim a time of 1:39.91, slightly higher than their 1:39.76 from WPIALs.
The quartet was seeded sixth.
The same four in the 200 medley relay swam to eighth in a time of 1:49.69. The WPIAL runner-up was the sixth seed.
Individually, Gardner (59.44) and Brown (1:00.40) placed 13th and 14th, in the 100 backstroke.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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