Trib HSSN girls swimmer of the week: Maeve Kelley, Winchester Thurston

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Friday, February 21, 2020 | 5:57 PM


Maeve Kelley has made the most of her freshman swim season representing Winchester Thurston as an independent.

The distance freestyler, also a member of the Fox Chapel Killer Whales club team, made her mark throughout the season at Fox Chapel and Ellis dual meets.

Kelley will be looking for big things at next week’s WPIAL Class AA championship meet at Pitt’s Trees Pool as the No. 1 seed in the girls 500-yard freestyle and the No. 4 seed in the 200 free.

“I was a little nervous at the start of the season having never swum in high school before,” Kelley said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I talked to a lot of people who have that experience, and they helped make me more comfortable. Now, I am really looking forward to having fun at WPIALs, experiencing the atmosphere and hopefully swimming some best times. I am more excited now than nervous.”

Kelley recorded her season-best 500 time of 5:08.59 at a dual meet at Ellis on Feb. 13. She tops the 17-swimmer field by more than two seconds. Her previous best this season, a 5:17.24, was recorded at Ellis on Jan. 27.

Elizabeth Forward swimmers Hailey Yurkovich, Kaelyn McClain and Natalie Glessner are seeded second through fourth. McClain is the defending WPIAL champion, having won last year’s crown with a time of 5:10.01.

“Everybody will shooting for first place, and it adds a little pressure being where I am,” Kelley said. “But I think it also will get me pumped up for the race and hopefully work in my favor.”

She said she hopes to get a career best in the 500, which is a 5:07 from a club race.

Kelley’s season best of 1:59.88 in the 200 free came in a hotly contested race during the Franklin Regional-Fox Chapel dual meet Feb. 6.

“The competition definitely helped me in that race,” she said. “I was hoping to go a little faster because my (career) best time is a 1:57 (from club). But I was happy with the time, especially with being in the middle of training.”

There will be a new WPIAL champion in the 200 free as Northgate’s Karen Siddoway moved on because of graduation and now swims at James Madison.

McClain, last year’s runner-up in the event, Glessner (fourth) and Indiana senior Parker Fanella (fifth) are back to challenge for the title. Fanella is the top seed (1:57.76).

“I just want to go out and race and see what I can do,” Kelley said. “Hopefully, I can go best time.”

Kelley said she’s happy to share the WPIAL experience with Winchester Thurston teammates.

Senior Aria Eppinger (ninth in the girls 200 individual medley, 11th in the 100 breaststroke), freshman Ben Winslow (fourth in the boys 500 free, ninth in the 200 IM), and junior Jack Keane-Lizano (18th in the boys 100 backstroke, 27th in the 100 butterfly) also will swim for Winchester Thurston at WPIALs.

Junior Ben Gutschow was seeded 11th for Friday’s WPIAL Class AA boys diving championships at South Park.

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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