Trib HSSN Boys Swimmer of the Week: North Allegheny’s Jack Wright

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Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 6:45 PM


Jack Wright is no stranger to the feeling of high school swimming’s championship season.

The seasoned North Allegheny senior again is leading the pack as the WPIAL championship meet approaches and is the clear-cut No. 1 seed in the Class AAA boys 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 36.09 seconds). He also owns the top seed in the 100 freestyle (45.42).

“Everyone was excited, including Jack, for the psych sheets to be released to see where everyone falls and who they will be swimming against,” North Allegheny coach Patrick Wenzel said.

Wenzel said the race in the 100 free between Wright and Penn Hills senior Kimani Gregory should be fun to watch. He expects Wright and Gregory, seeded first and second, respectively, for WPIALs, to then battle at states.

Last year, North Allegheny’s Mason Gonzalez won the 100 free title with a WPIAL-record time of 44.14, while Gregory was second (44.43), and Wright was third (46.00).

Wright brought home some WPIAL gold of his own with a record performance of 1:37.82 in the 200 free, and he also captured WPIAL titles as part of the record-setting 200 free and 400 free relays.

“Jack’s preparation often is for more down the road, but he enjoys competing at WPIALs and seeing how fast he can go in that setting,” Wenzel said.

Last year’s WPIAL accomplishments were a prelude to the state meet at Bucknell University where he lowered his WPIAL time in the 200 free and won the state title (1:34.77).

Wright then helped cap the Class AAA state meet with fireworks as he joined the now-graduated Gonzalez and Andrew Zhang and current junior Rick Mihm on the 400 free relay that set a National Federation of High Schools record with a time of 2:53.81.

“Jack puts in a lot of work, and he’s definitely going to be ready,” Wenzel said.

Wright also has his sights set on opportunities once the high school season ends.

“They released the Olympic Trial (qualifying) cuts this winter, and Jack is focused on going somewhere to swim meters in the 100, 200 and 400 freestyles and go after those cutoff times,” Wenzel said. “His big one is the 200, but he has good shots in the others.”

Wenzel said places to test his freestyle meters mettle include a number of USA Swimming Grand Prix meets in April and May.

“They are always at big-name pools with a lot of the best swimmers in the country and the world,” Wenzel said.

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

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