North Allegheny’s Smyers motivated to find success at PIAA meet

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Thursday, February 6, 2020 | 7:24 PM


North Allegheny junior swimmer Molly Smyers hopes to change a pattern that has seen her shine in the WPIAL Class AAA championships, then stumble at states.

Smyers earned gold medals in the girls 200-yard freestyle and 500 freestyle last season, and gold in the 500 freestyle and silver in the 200 freestyle in 2018. She advanced to the PIAA championships, where her best finish was 10th place in the 500 freestyle last season.

“I want a better outcome,” she said.

As of Jan. 27, Smyers ranked first in WPIAL Class AAA in the 500 freestyle in 5 minutes, 5.37 seconds and third in the 200 freestyle (1:53.53).

She was listed second in the 100 freestyle (52.66).

Smyers said she is focused on helping the Tigers, who are favored to win their 12th straight WPIAL title, to their first PIAA crown since 1997.

The WPIAL championship will be held the last week of February at Pitt, and the PIAA meet March 11-14 at Bucknell.

On the boys side, senior Rick Mihm sits atop WPIAL Class AAA in six events, including the 500 freestyle (4:29.31) and 200 individual medley (1:47.04), in which he is three-time PIAA and four-time WPIAL champion.

The Tigers are seeking their ninth consecutive WPIAL title and fourth consecutive PIAA title.

“The girls and boys always push each other,” said Mihm, a Stanford recruit. “Most of the time, we’re swimming together in the same lanes at practice.

“Both teams have a good dynamic with each other. We’re always supportive of each other during meets.”

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