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Loss of top competitor in the pool won't deter Deer Lakes' Adam Morrison=[edit | edit source]

Keith Barnes, Tri-State Sports & News Service,b FEB 7, 2020

Adam Morrison is the defending WPIAL Class 2A champion in the 500-yard freestyle and the top returning finisher in the 200 freestyle.

And being the swimmer to beat in two events has changed the perspective a bit for the Deer Lakes senior.

“It’s definitely a lot different than last year,” Morrison said “I know I still have some good competition, especially in the 200 where I was second last year, but I know that first place graduated and I just want to hold my place in that event.”

One of the first things Morrison has to get past is knowing he won’t have Andrew Pierre in the pool pushing him throughout the two heats. Pierre, who graduated from Mars High School in 2019, won the 200 freestyle and finished second behind Morrison in the 500 freestyle.

“Me and him swam on the same club team and it’s so much different not having him next to me just battling constantly. He was someone that was pushing me a lot,” Morrison said. “I think, especially at WPIALs, that’s going to be a lot different this year not having him there.”

Without Pierre, Morrison has intensified his training in an effort to make up for a swimmer his equal giving him a mental nudge forward. He has currently increased his yardage to between 7,000 and 8,000 per week to build up his stamina for the two longest freestyle events in the meet.

If last year was any indication, he’ll need every extra stride.

Morrison, a La Salle University recruit, lost to Pierre by 0.33 seconds in the 200 freestyle as he posted a time of 1:42.52 that was more than two seconds faster than Indiana High School’s Cole Thome, who is also back in 2020 for his senior season. Morrison edged Pierre in the 500 freestyle by only 0.92 seconds — an incredibly close finish in the lengthiest race on the docket — and beat third-place finisher Thome by 5.80 seconds with a 4:40.05.

Coming through with a double-gold at the WPIAL Class 2A finals at Pitt’s Trees Pool would be an accomplishment. Morrison has his goals set higher this season as he would like to finish out his career with a pair of state championships at the PIAA finals at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.

Morrison is the No. 2 returning finisher in both the 200 and 500 freestyles. But he will have a huge task ahead of him when he takes on Clearfield High School senior Luke Mikesell.

Last year, Mikesell, an IUP recruit, won the 200 in a state-record 1:38.31 and beat Morrison by 5.59 seconds in the process. He finished second by 0.45 seconds to Danny Berlitz of Marian Catholic in the 500 free and Berlitz did so only because he beat the 11-year-old record in the event of 4:24.42 set in 2008 by Shady Side Academy’s Trevor Scheid.

Berlitz swam a 4:24.04 to win, Mikesell a 4:24.52 to finish second and Morrison touched the wall in third place in 4:41.95.

And he knows exactly what he’ll be facing when he gets to Lewisburg.

“I think my biggest competitor is myself at this point because I can really push myself if I want to,” Morrison said. “I really think I can capture the state title this year. I know I’ll be racing Luke again, but I’ve been training so much and working so hard I think that it’s starting to become a reality.”

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