Trib HSSN girls swimmer of the week: Thomas Jefferson’s Hallie Findlan

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Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 4:49 PM


Thomas Jefferson junior Hallie Findlan owns the top time in the Class AA girls 50-yard freestyle, according to the qualifying lists recently posted at WPIAL.org.

She recorded a time of 24.91 seconds in the Jaguars’ Dec. 20 meet against Seton-La Salle.

On Tuesday against Baldwin, Findlan swam a time of 55.03 in the 100 free that tentatively places her second on the next list that is to be released within the week.

“We’re way ahead of schedule with all the training we’ve gotten in our new pool, and she’s ahead of where she was last year with her times,” Thomas Jefferson coach John Penn said.

But with the optimism comes understanding, Penn said, where Findlan knows there is still a lot of work to be done before WPIALs arrives.

Findlan returns after a sophomore year that included a runner-up finish (24.28) to Mt. Pleasant’s Heather Gardner (23.24) in the 50 free at WPIALs. She also took third in the 100 free (54.10). Both WPIAL times established new TJ school records.

At states, Findlan placed 13th in the 50 free and 20th in the 100 free.

“She really dedicated herself to getting stronger and faster,” Penn said. “She did a pretty extensive weightlifting and core-conditioning program over the summer and also swam with Bethel Park’s aquatic club.”

Findlan is the top returning finisher from last year’s WPIAL 100 free as champion Karen Siddoway from Northgate and runner-up Ashley Lynch from West Mifflin graduated.

Penn said that Findlan understands that it won’t be as simple as just sliding up into that open spot at the top as other underclassmen from last year’s race hope to make their move and new swimmers to the event also could challenge for gold.

“Hallie knows her competition and where she needs to go and what she needs to do to be ready,” Penn said. “She’s very motivated.”

Penn said that while Findlan quickly established her qualifying marks in the 50 and 100 free, she’s also qualified in the 200 free and 200 individual medley.

She is seven-tenths of a second off a 10-year TJ high school record in the 200 free.

“She knows she has to work hard in practice,” Penn said. “We’re still on a build. When we start a taper, her times are going to come down even further.”

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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