Trib HSSN girls swimmer of the week: Upper St. Clair’s Taylor Connors

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Friday, January 24, 2020 | 6:58 PM


Longtime followers of swimming at Upper St. Clair and throughout the WPIAL will remember the exploits of freestyler Merel Hommen.

The multi-time WPIAL and PIAA champion graduated from USC in 1994, and in addition to her gold medals, she also left the program with a trio of school records — the 100-yard freestyle, the 200 free and the 200 individual medley.

Taylor Connors, a junior with the Panthers, is now closing in on both of Hommen’s freestyle marks.

“She’s in striking distance,” USC coach Dave Schraven said. “Those are two of our oldest records, going back about 25 years. Those are a good target for Taylor.”

Connors owns the top times for both the 100 free (52.29 seconds) and 200 free (1:52.44) on the most recent Class AAA girls performance lists at WPIAL.org.

She’s also ranked in the top four in the 50 free, 500 free, 100 butterfly and 200 IM.

“Taylor’s pretty excited about that,” Schraven said. “No one is surprised with those times. That is what we expect from her.”

Connors’ expectation for WPIALs at Pitt this season, Schraven said, is to make a statement after falling short of her goals last year. She was slower than her seed times in the 100 free and 100 fly, finishing 13th and 15th, respectively.

“Taylor is a really talented swimmer, and she works hard for everything she has,” Schraven said. “With her training, I would put her up against any girl in this area. What we’ve been trying to do is get her competition results to be at the same level as her training. Last year, it just didn’t happen for her in her (individual) events at WPIALs, and she was frustrated and disappointed. But she’s back swimming at a high level this year, and I’m confident she will keep getting better.”

Connors did earn a pair of WPIAL medals by helping the 200 free relay finish second and the 400 free relay take third. Both relays swam in the PIAA consolation finals at Bucknell University.

“This year, she’s a lot more relaxed and is not putting as much pressure on herself,” Schraven said. “She’s just racing hard and is getting the results she wants.”

What two individual events she will swim at WPIALs next month still is being determined.

“We’re still seeing how things shake out with her,” Schraven said. “She’s so versatile, so there are options for what she can do. We know all the swimmers and where we think they will be. At the end of the day, we’re going to have her swim what we feel are her best events.”

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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