Spotlight on swimming at Saturday’s Keystone State Games

By Cabrini Rudnicki - For Times Leader
Swimmers take off to begin the girls 15- and 16-year-old backstroke competition Saturday during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Friends and relatives pack the stands at the Wyoming Valley CYC in Wilkes-Barre to watch Saturday’s Keystone State Games swimming events. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
 Jasmin Uptegraph, representing the Indiana County YMCA, gets ready to take off in the girls 9- and 10-year-old backstroke competition during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Keystone State Games volunteer official Monica Chathan, of Titusville, watches the swimming competition at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Swimmers take off to begin the boys 11- and 12-year-old backstroke competition during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — At first, Alekzander Baglia didn’t like swimming.

“It was really difficult,” he explained. “But as I got into it more, I got better.”

Baglia is a 12-year-old from western Pennsylvania who is one of the many young swimmers participating in this year’s Keystone State Games swimming competition. He swam Saturday at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center on South Washington Street.

Baglia’s parents played a huge part in his development.

“Their encouragement really helped,” he said. “They wanted me to do well, so I worked hard to do well.”

In Saturday’s competition, he swam the individual medley, butterfly stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle. Baglia won a number of awards in each category, most notably second place in backstroke.

“The best part of swimming is the team effort,” he said. “Even if you do bad, your coach and your whole team are still standing behind you, and encouraging you.”

Baglia is part of the Indy Swim Team of the YMCA of Indiana County.

As part of the team, the young swimmer has already gone to districts twice.

“Swimming is a good workout on your entire body,” he explained. “It can be hard.”

His passion was still there as he rattled off his favorite swimming strokes, with breaststroke being his favorite.

“Fly is my least favorite,” he explained. “It’s the hardest.”

Baglia has participated in other sports, such as basketball and football, but decided this summer to focus on swimming alone.

“It’s not like this player does this, and this player does this,” he said of his swimming experiences. “It’s one big team.”

Swimmers take off to begin the girls 15- and 16-year-old backstroke competition Saturday during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL072918Swimmers_5.jpgSwimmers take off to begin the girls 15- and 16-year-old backstroke competition Saturday during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Friends and relatives pack the stands at the Wyoming Valley CYC in Wilkes-Barre to watch Saturday’s Keystone State Games swimming events.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL072918Swimmers_4.jpgFriends and relatives pack the stands at the Wyoming Valley CYC in Wilkes-Barre to watch Saturday’s Keystone State Games swimming events. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

 Jasmin Uptegraph, representing the Indiana County YMCA, gets ready to take off in the girls 9- and 10-year-old backstroke competition during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL072918Swimmers_3.jpg Jasmin Uptegraph, representing the Indiana County YMCA, gets ready to take off in the girls 9- and 10-year-old backstroke competition during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Keystone State Games volunteer official Monica Chathan, of Titusville, watches the swimming competition at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL072918Swimmers_2.jpg Keystone State Games volunteer official Monica Chathan, of Titusville, watches the swimming competition at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Swimmers take off to begin the boys 11- and 12-year-old backstroke competition during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL072918Swimmers_1.jpgSwimmers take off to begin the boys 11- and 12-year-old backstroke competition during the Keystone State Games at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Cabrini Rudnicki

For Times Leader