Fox Chapel’s Sophie Shao takes silver in butterfly at PIAA meet
Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | 11:01 PM
Fox Chapel’s Sophie Shao stood on the bulkhead next to the starting block for nearly 10 minutes as PIAA officials worked out a problem with the timing system.
“I wasn’t thinking about too much,” Shao said as she waited to swim the girls Class 3A 100-yard butterfly Wednesday evening at the PIAA swimming championships at Bucknell.
“I was just looking around, and I said, ‘Dang, this is a fast group this year.’ (Hatboro Horsham freshman) Annie (Jia), oh my God. She is amazing.”
Shao attempted to win her third straight 100 fly state title, but Jia was too strong and claimed the championship with a PIAA record time of 52.04 seconds.
Shao’s time of 54.22, slightly higher than the WPIAL record of 53.85 she set March 3 at Pitt’s Trees Pool, is the exact time she swam at states as a freshman.
Wednesday was another full day for Shao who had six total swims, including the prelims and finals of the 200 individual medley.
Shao, a first-time WPIAL champion in the event with a time of 2:02.51, finished third in the championship heat with a 2:03.09.
Her individual performances were top highlights as part of a first-day finals experience not soon to be forgotten by the swimmers, coaches, spectators and PIAA officials.
Issues with the timing system plagued the PIAA boys finals, which began close to an hour past the original start time.
Several additional delays stalled the swimming as PIAA officials worked to correct the problem. Officials also spent time working out placement problems in certain events but ultimately they were able to correct those issues.
The delays pushed the start time for the girls events to 8:05 from an original start time of 6:50.
The Foxes 200 medley relay of Shao, junior Talia Bugel, senior Ariana Pasquella and senior Rei Sperry kicked off the girls finals with a second-place finish in a time of 1:44.09.
Kiski Area sophomore Eliza Miller also competed in the consolation finals, and she finished 16th in the 200 IM 2:09.20.
On the boys side, Kiski Area junior Levi Hansen, the WPIAL runner-up in the boys 200 free, had his sights set on earning a PIAA medal in the event.
But he missed the top-eight championship finals by 16 one-hundredths of a second.
Hansen refocused for the consolation final and held his place finish after the prelims, finishing ninth overall with a time of 1:41.69.
Fox Chapel freshman Christian Dantey also returned for an evening swim, and he placed 11th in the 200 free with a time of 1:42.73.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
Tags: Fox Chapel
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