BY TIM TAYLOR
Valley Sports Report
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Sayre's Josh McClelland has his sights set on a medal the 2019 PIAA Boys Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium. Medaling will be a challenge - he's entered in two of the more competitive events - but the senior has been working hard toward achieving his goal.
McClelland is seeded 10th in the 50-yard freestyle with a seed time of 21.92 seconds and 14th in the 100 free at 48.27 seconds. He is hoping to medal at states, but knows all about the challenges which lie ahead.
"To medal, that would be ideal," he said. "Where I'm seeded now, it's going to be a challenge. Challenges aren't a bad thing. I just need to be able to put in the effort beforehand and during."
He has certainly been putting in that effort beforehand and repetition has been a key strategy in preparing for states.
"(I) run the event multiple times, see sections of it where it breaks down, then work on those sections, then go back and put it in again and see what happens," McClelland said. "Just a lot of being able to do the event over and over again, and that helps. So, I'll do sprints this section of it, or the next section, then move on to quality or technique, change it up just so I know every single detail of my 100 and 50, that they're all very solid.
"I know when I'm going into it (the race), it's not going to be a shot in the dark, wondering what's going on. I know exactly what happens the whole time I'm in the race. I'll know each strike and each foot placement, stuff like that."
McClelland won districts in the 50 and was second in the 100. He earned a wild card in the latter and has mixed feelings about the two events.
"I have a lot of confidence going into the 50," McClelland said. "I'm a little nervous about the 100."
He won districts with a time of 21.92 seconds, beating top-seeded Grant Gronka of Central Columbia by 0.91 seconds. He qualified in the 100 free due to posting one of the 16 fastest non-automatic qualifying times in the state. He placed second at districts in that event, clocking
"That's my stronger event," he added of the 50. "I think I can move up in that, but the 100 is a lot harder, so I'm going to probably be pushing more in the 100."
The 50 free will be held Wednesday and the 100 free Thursday.
The senior's work ethic is clearly a plus heading into states. That makes his coach well aware of the possibilities.
"I anticipate a very solid 50 performance," Sayre coach Carrie Wright said. "The 50, he holds his own the whole 50. Everyone has room for improvement, but he is a solid swimmer. He knows what he has to do. You tell him what he needs to do and there's never a shoulda, woulda, coulda. He goes out and he does it, whether it's at practice or in a meet."
McClelland will be splashing in familiar waters, having competed here last year, and placing 31st in the 50 free. He was accompanied by his brother, Caleb, who competed in two events. Caleb McClelland is now swimming for Liberty University in Virginia.
IN PHOTO: Sayre's Josh McClelland.