W.Va. swim meet begins

Brooke's Emily Donley swims the backstroke. (Matthew Peaslee)

MORGANTOWN — One swimmer on the Brooke girls swim team set a substantial personal record at the West Virginia state swimming championship preliminaries on Thursday.

Today, four Bruins are within reaching distance of setting a school record.

“Overall, it was a really good day,” said Brooke coach Gina Reitter. “We’ll have some girls moving on to the consolation and they’re looking forward to getting another chance.”

The Bruins will start today’s afternoon session with the 200-yard medley relay team of Emily Donley, Mary Ossman, Leah Caparros and Bethany Harlan. The team placed 12th with a time of 2:07.52.

“They are three tenths away from setting a new school record,” Reitter said. “The nerves have set in. This will be their last chance to do it. But, they’re ready to go. They have tunnel vision and they’re focused on getting back out there.”

Ossman will also compete in the consolation of the 500-yard freestyle. She placed seventh, just missing out on a spot in the championship finals. Ossman checked in with a time of 5:49.20, which was 11 seconds faster than her seed time.

“Mary had the best overall meet from our team,” Reitter said. “She just showed up and showed up in a commanding way. She took 11 seconds off her seed time and moved up three places from where she was projected to begin with. I’m excited with her performance.

“It’s a really big deal. She’s been eying that goal for some time now and I’m just really happy with her and she’s happy too. Next year, she has her mind set on getting some hardware.”

Caparros will also swim in the consolation of the 100-yard backstroke after placing 10th in the preliminary with a time of 1:07.63.

For the Weir girls, Kaitlyn Stumpf has advanced to the second day of competition in the 200-yard individual medley. She placed 12th in the preliminary event with a time of 2:32.82.

Mickayla Cook of the Red Riders just missed out on advancing to the consolation by placing 13th in the 500-yard freestyle. The 400-yard freestyle team of Claire Stewart, Cook, Stumpf and Anita Village placed 14th.

“If we dropped less than a second, we would have been 10th,” said Weir coach John McGowan. “We just missed out. We didn’t swim our best, but we were right there with our normal pace. Some people from other schools improved and swam right past us. Some of the races get so close. The margin of error is so tight.”