Sewickley Academy athlete of the week: Isabel Huang

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | 11:43 AM

Isabel Huang

School: Sewickley Academy

Sport: Swimming

Class: Sophomore

Claim to fame: Isabel Huang has won all four of the WPIAL individual championship races in which she has competed, becoming a back-to-back champion in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke Thursday and Friday.

Her championship reigns were in jeopardy days before the race when she became sick, forcing her to miss practices.

She overcame the odds to swim the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 6.04 seconds to beat Laurel Highlands’ Maria Mrosko (2:07.37), and she finished the 100 backstroke in 57 seconds, barely ahead of Mapletown’s Ella Meaner (57.04).

Each are personal bests and school records.

How does it feel to be a four-time WPIAL champion?

I’m really happy, and I hope everyone else on the team is happy with their results.

You always emphasize your goal is to cut time, regardless of place. How were you able to drop more than one second off of your 100 backstroke since last season?

Mostly just staying consistent in practice and focusing on small details within the stroke with respect to technique.

You won the 100 backstroke by .04 seconds. Did you have any awareness of how close Ella Menear was to you?

Especially toward the end of the race, I noticed how close she was. It kind of scared me at first, and I just stayed focused. So, yes, I definitely noticed it.

After a race like that, how did you two react?

My first instinct was to look at the scoreboard and see the times. It occurred to me how close we really were, and it was exciting for both of us. We talked a little bit, exchanged congratulations and she’s such a nice person, so it was great.

What does it mean to you to also qualify for the 200 and 400 free relay with Halle Wagner, Ella Fuener and Sophie Besterman?

I’m so happy we’re able to go to states together, because we’ll have a lot of fun. I‘m close with each of them, and I can’t wait for us to cheer each other on.

How will states be different for you this year?

My goal will mostly be just to be faster, but I have higher expectations for myself. I know what it will be like, and I’ll use my experiences last year to try to get on the podium for my events.

What else do you enjoy outside of swimming?

I like hanging out with friends as much as I can. I don’t do too many other activities outside of swimming, because it takes up so much of my time. I’m in a few clubs, but I mainly stay focused on school work and swimming.

What’s your favorite subject in school?

Right now, it’s probably chemistry. I really like the class this year. For every class, I think how much I like it comes down to the teacher and the way they lead us through what we’re learning.