Bellefonte swimmer Brian Feldman knows this sting is going to stay with him for a while
The junior fell short of expectations for himself Friday in the Class 2A Swimming Championships at Bucknell —he finished in 21st place in the 100-yard breaststroke — but he’s still looking on the bright side. He plans to use his time of 1 minute, 1.31 seconds as motivation to return with better numbers next season.
He wants to use that sting, that disappointment, as a launching pad for a memorable 2018.
“I feel like this whole next year when I’m training, I’m just going to see two numbers in my head,” Feldman said. “The first will be that I didn’t get the top 8, and the other will be that I do better than a minute.”
Feldman was racing against the top swimmers in the state, so Red Raiders coach Laura Randazzo intimated he was a bit too hard on himself. After all, for Feldman and two teammates, this was their first time competing at states in individual events.
“It was a big milestone for them,” Randazzo added. “And they all have at least one more year to come back here.”
Bellefonte sophomore Ian Lowery missed out on posting a personal best in the 100-yard breaststroke Friday, placing outside the top 20 with a 1:02.92, and junior Zach Malinich turned in his second-best time of the season in the 100-yard butterfly (58.02) on Thursday. The trio also combined with Dmitry Wall on Thursday to place just outside the top 20 in the 200-yard medley relay team.
Feldman — who acknowledged, “I’ve been better” — actually fared the best of Bellefonte’s swimmers based on placement. None placed in the top 20, but Randazzo still said this was a big step forward compared to last year. In 2016, Bellefonte boasted just two swimmers in individual events. This year, that increased to three — despite those two from a year ago already having graduated.
In other words, it’s no stretch to think 2018 will be better.
“It’ll be better knowing that I’ve done it before,” Lowery said, referring to next season’s state meet. “And that’ll kind of get most of the nerves away. It’ll be like any other swim.”
Only one other county swimmer, St. Joseph’s Peter Forstmeier, took part in the championship meet. And he fared the best of all. The junior finished 19th in the 500-yard freestyle Friday with a season-best time of 4:53.75.
As far as other county teams, the State College boys and girls will take part in the Class 3A championships on Saturday and Sunday.
The Red Raiders headed back home Friday night, so they won’t be around to watch the Little Lions. But Feldman said the memory of that state meet will linger, and the goal again next year is reaching states.
Friday’s experience can only help that goal.
“We have tons of potential,” Feldman said about his team. “By the end of next season, we’ll have a really bright team.”