Trib HSSN girls swimmer of the week for Dec. 19, 2019: Seneca Valley’s Kendall Craig

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Thursday, December 19, 2019 | 5:49 PM


Kendall Craig set a new Seneca Valley pool record Tuesday in the girls 200-yard individual medley.

The Raiders junior established a time of 2 minutes, 6.39 seconds in winning the event against Peters Township.

The record — held by former IM standout and Seneca Valley WPIAL champion and PIAA medalist Amanda Smith — had stood since 2002.

“For her to get that record, it’s given her a lot of confidence as far as how she is going to be able to perform at the end of the season,” Seneca Valley swim coach Brian Blackwell said.

Craig hopes to continue her early season accomplishments en route to the WPIAL championships in late February and a potential return to the PIAA finals in March.

“Kendall came into this season in really good shape, and she kind of stepped it up the past couple of weeks,” Blackwell said. “She’s again taking to the competitive side of it. She likes racing, so it’s been good for her.”

Craig made strides in the 2017-18 season, her first varsity campaign with Seneca Valley. In her return trip to WPIALs last year, she recorded a fifth-place finish in the 200 IM (2:07.05) and reached the medal stand. The field at WPIALs included champion Laura Goettler from Butler and runner-up Zoe Skirboll from Fox Chapel, who both swam faster than the previous WPIAL record.

Craig went on to place 12th in the 200 IM at the PIAA meet at Bucknell University.

“The 200 IM last year was such a strong field,” Blackwell said. “To get on the medal stand in that event was a big thing for her. It also gave her a good idea for what to expect for this year. That has helped her in her training.”

Craig added a 10th-place finish at WPIALs in the 100 freestyle (53.48) and helped the 200 and 400 free relays place 10th as well. Blackwell said Craig is considering a return to the 100 free this season, and the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke also are on the table.

Blackwell said training in her events in the offseason, including refining her turns to get her more technically sound, and adding more strength training as the season got closer, has paid off in her performances so far.

Representing the Seneca Valley Swim Club, Craig placed second to North Allegheny’s Molly Smyers in both the 200 IM (2:05.16) and 400 IM (4:33.76) at the Club Mountaineer Invite last weekend at West Virginia University.

She also helped the 400 medley relay take home first place.

“Kendall was able to take that next step last year, and we’re looking forward to seeing her do that again,” Blackwell said. “She has high expectations for herself.”

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

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