Park’s Lucas Ready for Final Race

Patriots senior will compete in 4 events

WHEELING — Wheeling Park’s Caleb Lucas is about to make his fourth trip to the state swimming championship.

Although he is no stranger to the big meet, the senior is still getting jitters leading up to his final race as a Patriot.

“It’s just nerve racking,” Lucas said. “We could make history.

“I’ll probably be listening to some Gorillaz, Queen and just classic rock before the race to channel my nerves.”

Making history is nothing new to Lucas, either. He already set school records in the 50 freestyle and the 100 and is on the verge of setting the bar even higher at states.

Lucas will be aiming for top honors in the 200, 100, 200 relay and 400 relay at the state meet.

“We’re going to miss Caleb,” Park coach Pat Durkin said. “He has broken two long-standing records here and he will probably break them again this week.

“He just puts his head down and goes. He is working really hard right now.”

Assistant coach Amy Hensler agreed.

“Those were elite swimmers who held those records,” Hensler said. “We didn’t think we would ever have a boy touch those records but Caleb did it and now we are talking about him being a state champion.”

Lucas has certainly put in the work.

Two years ago, Lucas finished fifth in the 200 IM at states, working his way up the charts. Now, he has become one of the premiere swimmers in West Virginia and will have a shot to bring home his first state title.

“My first two years I did OK and my junior year was kind of a roller coaster,” Lucas said. “But this year, it’s just been up and up and up.”

At regionals, Lucas won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:57.84 and grabbed top honors in the 100 with a 52.08 mark.

He was also a key contributor to the 200 relay team of Alexander Dague, Nicholas DeFazio and Charles Schellhase that finished first in a 1:39.98 manner, while his 400 relay group of Schellhase, Dague and Manaved Kuttan topped the charts, as well, with a 3:50.18 time.

For Lucas, this is his last go-round at Park, which has him looking into the future.

“I’m realizing there won’t be much to do after swim,” Lucas said. “I’d like to swim in college but it is so difficult and practices are very tough.

“I’ve definitely thought about doing club in college but I haven’t made up my mind just yet.”

Lucas will have time to focus on the next level when the time comes but for now he has his sights set on one thing — Gold.

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