Trib HSSN girls swimmer of the week: Brooke Welling, Freeport
Friday, February 14, 2020 | 5:00 PM
Brooke Welling ranks among the top swimmers in the girls 100-yard freestyle in WPIAL Class AA.
The Freeport junior recorded her season-best time in the event – 54.37 seconds – last weekend at the Mark Hess Memorial Invitational at Indiana High School.
The time earned Wellling a gold medal as she bested the field, including Yellowjackets teammate and event runner-up Madison Moretti, by almost two seconds.
“Brooke has been working really hard in that 100 free, and she’s wanted to drop time in that race,” Freeport coach Nikki Heasley said. “She was a little nervous about it, but she was able to get relaxed enough and focused, and she went after it. To see an athlete be able to accomplish what they are going after, especially after seeing them work so hard, is really great.”
Welling entered the week ranked third in the event in Class AA. Only Mt. Pleasant senior Heather Gardner and Thomas Jefferson junior Hallie Findlan, both seasoned stalwarts at both WPIALs and states, have gone faster this year.
She is hoping to make her move up the ladder in the 100 free at WPIALs. Last year, she finished 18th at WPIALs with a time of 56.96, more than two seconds slower than where she is right now.
“Brooke’s main goal and focus is getting to the state meet, and any other place she gets (at states) would be a bonus,” Heasley said.
After swimming the 50 free twice at WPIALs, Welling, Heasley said, is considering a move to the 200 free.
She posted a season-best of 2:00.70 in the event at the Mark Hess meet and placed third. She finished about a second and a half behind runner-up and sophomore teammate Alexis Schrecongost.
The time also was the eighth fastest in Class AA at the start of the week.
“Her 200 free has really come a long way,” Heasley said. “The faster you get in the 100 free really opens the door for the 200.”
Welling, Heasley said, also is focused on getting relays to the medals podium at WPIALs, and she will help form the core of two quartets with Moretti and Schrecongost.
Last year, Welling teamed with Schrecongost, Moretti and the graduated Ariana Clark on the 400 free relay team that placed sixth at WPIALs and qualified for states.
Heasley said Welling has upped her performance level with additional training with the Cavalier Swim Club.
“Last year, she made the switch from YMCA to Cavalier, and the coach over there, Dan Prager, has really helped her with her events,” Heasley said. “He’s pinpointed the weak points in her swims and helped strengthen them. He helped her with her starts, her walls and a lot of other little things. She’s been working really hard at getting faster, and it shows.”
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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