Bel Air's Rising makes splash in more than one stroke

January 10, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Bel Air's Kathy Rising is far from a one-stroke swimmer.

Last year as a freshman, Rising broke the county record in the 100-meter breaststroke. At Thursday night's meet, however, she didn't even swim the event.

That was OK with her.

"I don't like swimming the 100 breast every time or the 100 free. I like a variety. That way I can become a better all-around swimmer," said Rising.

A year ago, Rising won the county title and set a Harford County record of 1 minute, 10.32 seconds in the 100 breaststroke.

Rising also finished second in the 100 backstroke. She picked up two more gold medals with the Bobcats' 200 free and 200 medley relay teams, helping Bel Air to its second straight county championship.

This season, one of her top goals is to improve on all of her strokes. She is succeeding.

Through three meets, she holds the fastest times of the season in four events -- the 100 freestyle, 58.07; the 100 butterfly, 1:05.89; the 100 breaststroke, 1:13.10; and the 200 individual medley, 2:22.30.

In Thursday night's Bel Air victory over C. Milton Wright and Joppatowne, Rising won all four of her races. She helped the Bobcats to wins in the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay and won the 200 IM and the 100 freestyle.

Bel Air coach Ray Hruz said Rising, a team captain, is happy to swim nearly any combination of races.

"Kathy doesn't complain about anything," said Hruz. "If I ask her to do an event, she does it. She's been swimming long enough that she's smart -- she understands strategy. She knows I might need her to swim an event that's not her best because we need the points, and she doesn't mind that."

While Rising is a relatively new force on the county schools' swimming scene, she has been swimming competitively since she was 7. At 9, she began swimming all year, and she now swims with the Harford County YMCA Hurricanes.

Rising's training schedule can keep her in the water up to 2 1/2 hours a day when she follows her high school practice with Hurricanes practice. On weekends, she adds two hours a day with the Hurricanes.

The hard work is paying off. Rising has improved her times in high school meets and also qualified for the YMCA national championships in the 100 breaststroke.

The standard for qualifying was 1:10.99. Rising made it in 1:10.60.

In April, she will head to Florida to compete with other top Y swimmers from across the United States.

"This is the first time I've ever qualified for any nationals," said Rising. "This is like the first step. There's Y nationals, [United States Swimming] junior nationals and then [USS] senior nationals."

Despite her versatility, Rising concentrates on the 100 breaststroke, which has been her best event. She works hardest to get her time under 1:08.

If she can reach 1:08, she'll be close to the qualifying time for the USS Junior Nationals. The highest level of junior swimming, the junior nationals meet has a qualifying time of 1:07 for the event.

"My goal is to make junior nationals," said Rising, who wants to swim in college. "This year, I really want to try to push myself, and I think improving all my strokes will help."

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