5 girls swimmers to watch at the WPIAL Class AA championships

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | 2:01 PM

The WPIAL Class AAA and AA swimming championships will be held Thursday and Friday at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

The Class AAA boys and girls meet will be from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Class AA meet will be held from 3-5:30 p.m. each day.

The TribLive High School Sports Network will live video stream the championships at TribHSSN.triblive.com.

Here’s a look at five Class AA girls swimmers to watch:

Rachel Blackburn, junior, Highlands, 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke

Blackburn rose to the occasion at WPIALs last year with a third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke and an eighth-place medal in the 200 individual medley. She then made her PIAA individual debut and took 14th in the 100 breast. Blackburn returns to WPIALs seeded third in the 100 breast (1:08.13) behind club teammate Alexis Schrecongost, a freshman from Freeport, and defending WPIAL champion Heather Gardner, a junior from Mt. Pleasant. Former Highlands teammate Bailey Bonnett holds the WPIAL Class AA record in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.61).

Isabel Huang, freshman, Quaker Valley, 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke

Huang is one of a number of freshmen hoping to make an impact at WPIALs this year. The Sewickley Academy student representing the combined Quaker Valley-Sewickley Academy squad is the top seed in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:11.08 set in a runner-up finish to Moon’s Leah Baker at the Midwestern Athletic Conference Championships on Feb. 9. Huang is the No. 2 seed to Freeport senior Ariana Clark in the 100 backstroke (1:00.51).

Brittney Carmazzi, sophomore, North Catholic, 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke

Carmazzi finds herself in the same position in the 100 butterfly she was in last year at this time. She again is the No. 1 seed in the event (58.46), and this time, she wants to bring home the gold after taking silver as a freshman. Carmazzi also swam the 100 fly at states in 2018, and she placed 10th to lead all WPIAL swimmers. She will return Friday to swim individually in the 100 backstroke. She is in the final heat and seeded sixth overall (1:01.53).

Hailey Yurkovich, freshman, Elizabeth Forward, 200 individual medley, 500 freestyle

Yurkovich is one of several highly-seeded swimmers for the Elizabeth Forward teams at WPIALs Thursday and Friday. She makes her debut Thursday in the girls 200 IM and is seeded third (2:12.30). Of the top six seeds in the event, four are freshmen. Yurkovich comes back Friday as the top seed in the 500 free (5:14.70) and will swim next to teammate Kaelyn McClain, the No. 2 seed, in the final heat. Elizabeth Forward also owns the top seed in the girls Class AA 400 free relay.

Ashley Lynch, senior, West Mifflin, 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle

A shoulder injury sidelined Lynch for her entire junior season, but she has returned and is hoping for big things in her final WPIAL appearance. The Titans senior, with five WPIAL medals — three individual and two relay — as well PIAA experience to her credit, is seeded third in the 200 freestyle (1:59.73) behind defending champion Karen Siddoway, a senior from Northgate, and Elizabeth Forward junior Kaelyn McClain. She will compete right away on Day 2 as she is in the final heat of the 100 freestyle and seeded seventh (56.55).

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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