Trib HSSN Girls Swimmer of the Week: Freeport’s Ariana Clark

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Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 5:50 PM


Ariana Clark earned an eighth-place medal in the 100-yard backstroke at last year’s WPIAL Class AA championship meet at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

The Freeport senior just missed another medal in the 100 butterfly, taking 10th overall.

Clark, now a senior, will return to WPIALs next week with bigger goals in mind, and that includes bringing home gold medals and qualifying for states.

“She’s really excited for WPIALs,” Freeport coach Nikki Heasley said. “Sometimes in the past, she would have to fight through nerves, but now she is pretty confident with herself and her abilities. It’s her senior year, and she wants to leave it all in the pool. She’s trusting in the fact that she’s training and preparing really hard.”

Clark, also a member of the Fox Chapel Killer Whales Club team, showed her WPIAL readiness with top times at the Mark Hess Memorial Invitational on Feb. 9 at Indiana High School.

She went head-to-head with Mt. Pleasant junior Heather Gardner in the 100 back and recorded a season-best time of 1 minute, 0.07 seconds.

Gardner bested Clark with a time of 59.24. They, however, won’t match up in the 100 back at WPIALs.

Clark is the top seed in the 100 back, while Gardner is seeded first in the 100 breaststroke.

Gardner also is the top seed in the 50 free.

A group of underclassmen seeded second through sixth in the 100 back, including No. 2 seed Isabel Huang, a freshman from Quaker Valley, are among those who will challenge Clark for the WPIAL title.

Clark also clocked a season-best time in the 100 fly (59.94) at the Hess Memorial Invite, and she is seeded third overall in the event for WPIALs behind only New Castle sophomore Brittney Carmazzi and Carlynton senior Katie Kozy.

In addition to her individual goals and expectations, Clark also hopes to achieve big things at WPIALs in a pair of relays.

She is a part of the 200 medley relay that is seeded second (1:54.45) and the 400 free relay which is seeded third (3:47.46).

Clark holds the Freeport school record in both the 100 fly and 100 back, and she also shares the records in the 200 medley and 400 free relays.

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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