Mt. Lebanon’s Ward chasing WPIAL butterfly record that’s stood since ’83

Thursday, January 17, 2019 | 5:00 PM

Mt. Lebanon senior Trinity Ward is out to break the oldest WPIAL swimming record on the books.

Ward, the three-time defending WPIAL Class AAA champion, hopes to better the mark in the girls 100-yard butterfly (54.16 seconds) set by Penn Hills’ Melanie Buddemeyer in 1983.

Ward is off to a good start. As of Wednesday, she led WPIAL Class AAA in the event (55.28).

Ward said she would like to top off her high school career with the record, but her main goal is a PIAA title. If she is not at her peak, the record might be hard to come by.

Ward won in 55.18 at the WPIAL championship meet last season. At states, she went 55.77 to place sixth.

Ward was PIAA champion in 2017 (54.14).

Ward has had her hand in one WPIAL record already. In 2017, she anchored the 400 freestyle relay team that took first place in an historic 3:25.76.

She considers that a career highlight. She likes relays and said a lot of her best swims have come in them.

She was on the 200 medley relay team that won at WPIALs the last two years. The team ranks first in the WPIAL this season (1:45.06).

Mt. Lebanon coach Tom Donati said Ward knows what it takes to excel.

“She’s driven,” he said. “It’s a job to her.”

Ward has signed a letter of intent to Kentucky for next season. She considered Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Duke and North Carolina, which is Buddemeyer’s alma mater.

She plans to take up engineering or environmental studies.

“We are super excited to have Trinity join our program,” Kentucky coach Lars Jorgensen said. “She is a very versatile swimmer who will be able to help us both individually and on relays.

“In addition, she is a great student and person. Ultimately, we see her as a leader on our team and becoming an All-American.”

The Wildcats placed fourth in the SEC championship and 14th in the NCAA Division I championship last season.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.


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