Penn-Trafford’s Prokopec leaves WCCAs with record time

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Friday, January 31, 2020 | 5:14 PM


Penn-Trafford junior swimmer Austin Prokopec considered himself lucky to set a meet record in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association championship Jan. 25.

Prokopec came in first in the 500-yard freestyle in 4 minutes, 49.22 seconds. Franklin Regional senior Ryan McFaden (4:49.67) and Kiski Area freshman Levi Hansen (4:49.89) were less than a second behind.

All three were faster than the pace of 4:51.37 set by Franklin Regional’s Nick Whiteman in 2014.

Kiski Area freshman Parker Sterlitz, who placed fourth (4:51:55), was just shy of Whiteman’s record.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Prokopec said. “I knew all of us were capable of achieving (the record).

“Whoever won would get that.”

Penn-Trafford coach Dave Babik said he and Prokopec did not look at what the record was until minutes before the race.

“I told Austin he was capable of beating that time,” Babik said. “The fact those four boys were so fast and able to race each other helped them all achieve at a high level.

“It was a great race to watch.”

Prokopec was one of two Warrior boys to earn a gold medal.

Junior Ben Yant (100 freestyle, 47.91) was the other.

For the girls, senior Corina Paszek (200 individual medley, 2:10.65) won.

“I am proud of how everyone did,” said Paszek, a Clarion recruit. “Based on our swims, our goal is to win our remaining meets.

“My personal goal is to continue to train hard and perform even better at (the WPIAL Class AAA championship in late February). Winning definitely boosted my confidence and got me excited for the rest of the season.”

Babik said there were a lot of time drops and WPIAL cuts.

“Our kids were excited to swim well and they did,” he said.

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