Trib HSSN boys swimmer of the week: Indiana’s Isaac Griffith
Thursday, January 9, 2020 | 7:27 PM
Isaac Griffith finished all alone at the top in the boys 100-yard butterfly at the West Allegheny Invitational on Dec. 28.
The Indiana junior swam to a time of 53.22 seconds, a new pool record. He was five seconds clear of the rest of the field.
The time also was less than four-tenths of a second off his WPIAL Class AA runner-up finish of 52.88 last March at Pitt’s Trees Pool.
“The (52.88) was with a taper, so to go as fast as I did at West Allegheny, it was pretty motivating for me going into the new year,” Griffith said.
Griffith also finished runner-up in the 500 at West Allegheny, and he helped the defending WPIAL champion 200 medley and 400 free relays bring home titles from the invitational.
“Isaac and I have had some good conversations about where we want his times halfway and three-quarters of the way through the season,” Indiana coach Garet Weston said. “He worked hard in the offseason and has been in the weight room a bunch. He came in with a lot of momentum from last year’s swims at WPIALs and states. Everything with him has been 110% effort.”
Griffith said he knows he has to be at his best in the 100 fly. He said he expects another loaded field in the event at WPIALs led by defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Ian Shahan, a junior from Belle Vernon.
Shahan set a 100 fly WPIAL record last year with a time of 49.66 and lowered it to 48.83 at states.
“It really set in how challenging this sport is at this level, and that there probably is always someone faster to chase,” said Griffiths, also a member of the swim team at the Indiana County YMCA. “You just have to keep training and working hard.”
Griffith swam three relays at WPIALs last year, but he is expected return to the two championship-winning relays and pick up the 500 free.
“I’m excited for the 500,” said Griffith, who swam a personal best in the event at West Allegheny. “I really hadn’t swum it before. I want to see what I can do. Hopefully, I can make it to states in that and place like I did in the fly. The work I’ve done (in the 500) is paying off.”
Weston said he likes what he sees from Griffith in the 500.
“Last year, we asked some of the guys, for team reasons, to swim three relays,” Weston said. “Griffith accepted that with an open mind. But I think he can really make an impact in the 500 at WPIALs. He almost broke five minutes (5:04.42) at West Allegheny. That’s a good time for him at this point in the season.”
Griffith said there is a buzz in the 200 medley and 400 free relays as all four swimmers — including seniors Cole Thome and Kevin Zheng and junior Kyle Thome — are back in both events.
“This year, we’ve been working a lot harder together, and we have a time going into WPIALs (in the 200 medley relay) that is three seconds faster than what we went in with last year,” Griffith said. “Hopefully, we can drop another three seconds. We’re right where we were going into WPIALs last year in the 400. We’re optimistic we can drop time in that as well.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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