Freeport swimmer Lexi Schrecongost on track for impressive second act

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Monday, January 6, 2020 | 6:50 PM


Lexi Schrecongost is hoping for an encore and more after a freshman swimming season that saw her earn four WPIAL medals, including an individual bronze in the girls Class AA 100-yard breaststroke.

The Freeport sophomore said her motivation to come back and build on last year was strong in the high school offseason, and it only increased after a series of strong performances at meets over the past month and a half.

“I learned so much from last year,” said Schrecongost, who took 14th in the 100 breast at states. “I am pushing myself in practices and meets even more to drop more time.”

Schrecongost said she benefited from the experience of swimming against some high-level competition from throughout the region the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Mark J. Braun Fall Classic in Geneva, Ohio, and at last month’s annual Christmas meet at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

“I am happy with my times,” said Schrecongost, also a member of the Fox Chapel Killer Whales club team. “I wasn’t sure if I would be where I am at right now. I swam my two best times (100 breast and 200 free) against Laurel Highlands (last Thursday). Hopefully, I can do better at WPIALs this year if I keep improving, especially in my freestyle events.”

Schrecongost, the school record holder in the girls 100 breast, said the event in Class AA at WPIALs again will be highly anticipated and competitive.

Mt. Pleasant senior Heather Gardner is back as the defending WPIAL champion (1:03.92) and PIAA runner-up. Highlands senior Rachel Blackburn placed second at WPIALs (1:06.77), just 36 one-hundredths of a second faster than Schrecengost (1:07.13).

The top 12 finishers in the Class AA 100 breast last year were underclassmen, including five freshmen.

“It should be another fun race at WPIALs,” Schrecongost said. “We’re always talking to each other and wondering what our times will be and who will come out on top.”

She said she values her swim relationship with Blackburn, a teammate with Killer Whales who she often leans on for advice.

Schrecongost has qualified for WPIALs in every individual event except the 100 free and 100 backstroke, but she said she should get those two soon.

She will return to the 100 breast for WPIALs, but she is favoring a switch from the 200 IM — she placed fifth (2:13.15) in the event at WPIALs last year — to a freestyle for her second individual event.

Schrecongost said she is close to the school records in the 200 free and 50 free, marks established in 2015 by Bria Otwell and Zoe Pawlak. She hopes to get both this year.

“Lexi is looking really strong in the water,” said Sheryl Schrecongost, Lexi’s mother and assistant coach for both Freeport and the Killer Whales.

“When she gets that fierce competitiveness and gets behind that block ready to go, she is tough to beat. From last year to this year, in the high school season, she has improved so much. A lot of that is just her maturing and understanding what it takes after going through it for the first time.”

As excited as Schrecongost is to reach her individual goals and expectations, she said she’s also pumped for the team as a whole and what everyone can accomplish over the next several weeks leading to WPIALs.

She joined junior Madison Moretti and graduates Ariana Clark and Isabella Parks on last year’s school-record setting 200 medley relay that finished runner-up at WPIALs (1:51.45) and 13th at states.

Schrecongost teamed with Clark, Moretti and junior Brooke Welling on the 400 free relay that also swam at states after a sixth-place WPIAL finish.

Moretti and Welling also are set to swim at WPIALs individually and in relays as all three relays have qualified for WPIALs.

A young Freeport girls team, which also includes senior Madeleine Miller, juniors Kodi Dobrowolski, Makayla Nicholas and Paige Semanko, and freshmen Jayda Ben and Aimee Heasley, is hoping to make noise in the second half of the regular season.

Freeport team members gather a couple of times a week for early morning workouts at the Allegheny Valley YMCA in Natrona Heights and also swim several afternoons and evenings with their respective club teams.

“Everyone has improved so much this year,” Schrecongost said. “We’re all so motivated. We want to get to WPIALs in more events.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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