In-pool profile: Thomas Jefferson’s Findlan ready to defend WPIAL 100 free title

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021 | 12:21 AM


Hallie Findlan was a woman of steel against Steel Valley on Jan. 25 as she swam the top WPIAL Class AA girls 100-yard freestyle time this season.

The time of 53.84 seconds put the Thomas Jefferson senior and defending WPIAL 100 free champ at the top of the list. But it didn’t keep her from pushing forward for more in an unusual season of covid-related stops and starts.

“After having a long break, I feel good and feel I am where I should be swimming at this stage of the season,” Findlan said of her approach when practices and meets resumed after the three-week covid shutdown from Dec. 12 to Jan. 4.

“I have some work still to do, but I feel positive and happy with my performances in the pool so far.”

The latest WPIAL swimming performance lists were released Monday morning at WPIAL.org, and in addition to her top 100 free time, she is second in the 50 free with a 24.48 recorded last Thursday against Ringgold.

Findlan’s top times in the 50 and 100 frees are automatic cuts for entry to the WPIAL Class AA championships the week of March 1.

She is about a second off the automatic time (2:02.00) in the 200 free.

“The new time standards are very challenging, especially after such a long break and a short season,” Findlan said. “However, I was very happy that I could make the 50 and 100 freestyle cuts, and I continue to hope and encourage my other teammates to do the same in their events.

“I have been focusing on my own swims and improving where I can. I also have been focusing on the betterment of our team since many of these outside things we cannot control.”

The WPIAL could finalize the championship location, dates and the number of entries for each individual and relay event as early as Wednesday.

“There is a lot of uncertainty currently, and I know that nothing is guaranteed,” Findlan said. “I am happy for the opportunity to compete and show my growth in my sport my senior season. I definitely savor the opportunity to be able to practice and compete during these times.”

Findlan, who also competes for the Bethel Park Swim Club, owned the podium in the 100 free at last year’s WPIAL Class AA championships at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

She finished in a time of 53.12 seconds, outracing Laurel Highlands then-freshman Ella Ciez to the wall by 13 hundredths of a second. She set the TJ school record – a 52.70 – in the regular season.

During the first day of WPIALs, Findlan posted a school-record time of 23.82 in the 50 free, good for second place behind only Mt. Pleasant graduate Heather Gardner, now a freshman at Division I Liberty University.

Findlan was in position to make a run at the PIAA championships at Bucknell University, but the meet was canceled amid the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

She now owns four school records. The 2019-20 season also saw her pick up the record in the 200 free (2:00.67). She helped set the 200 free relay mark (1:45.70) at WPIALs with juniors Madison Keck and Audra Morgan and sophomore Mackenzie Meyers.

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

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