The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

March 27, 2013

Swimmer wraps up standout career

Westmont grad a 6-time All-American at Clarion

JOHNSTOWN — It’s been a long time since Westmont Hilltop High School graduate Joe Ward had some free time.

During his high school career, he competed in swimming during the winter and track and field during the spring. That carried over into college, when he accepted an offer to swim for Clarion University.

Four years later, Ward has wrapped up his collegiate career on a successful note, finishing sixth in the 100-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division II Men’s Swimming and Diving National Championships. He swam a 44.50 in the finals, nearly reaching the school-record 44.30.

The placing brought All-America honors, the sixth time Ward has achieved such status.

Ward became a two-time All-American at the 2010 nationals, placing in relays. He added two more All-America awards at the 2011 nationals, when he placed fifth in the 100 freestyle at 44.30 and 11th in the 50 freestyle at 20.33.

At this year’s meet, he clocked a 1:39.71 in the 200 freestyle for 15th place and his fifth All-America honor.

Now, Ward is concentrating on academics. But, there could well be more competitive swimming in the future.

“My near-term plans include a master’s degree in counseling psychology and, eventually, a Ph.D. in sports and performance psychology,” he said. “I’ve toyed with the thought of maybe training for another year and, maybe, making another try at the Olympic trials. I haven’t made a commitment to it yet. I’ve been close to the cut in the last couple of years, but I never really made one.”

For some, not having made the cut in prior attempts might mean not trying again. But, Ward has shown the ability to come back and win after falling short.

As a sophomore, Ward won the 50 freestyle at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship meet, but finished only second the following year. He came back to take victory as a senior.

When he lists his most memorable accomplishments, other such comebacks stand out.

“Some would be making it back to the finals in the 200 freestyle the past year after being 40th in the preliminaries,” he said. “Two years ago, in my sophomore year at (the 2011 nationals in) San Antonio, going to the championship final of the 200 freestyle and finishing fifth with school and conference records ... or possibly being the conference champion in the 100 freestyle for three straight years.”

What comes next for Ward remains to be seen, but there is no doubt about one thing: He has no regrets about the past.

“I’m just grateful for all the support from my family, friends, teammates and coaches all the way from the high school level to the collegiate level,” he said. “I’m very grateful for everything, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAG 0720 AAABA League playoffs: Laurel Auto Group moves closer to advancing

    Second-seeded Laurel Auto Group fell behind early against No. 3 Berkley Hills Renegades on Sunday afternoon at Roxbury Park. But Laurel’s players didn’t lose their composure.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urtz, Pope lead AAABA League award votes

    Logan Urtz hadn’t fielded a ground ball as an infielder or swung a bat in a game for a couple seasons.
    But you can’t take the former infielder out of a starting pitcher.

    July 20, 2014

  • Blairsville pegged as team to beat

    As Heritage Conference football coaches assembled at United High School during Wednesday’s media day event at Thomas J. Madill Field, the near-consensus opinion is that Blairsville – under second-year coach Rick Artley – is going to be the team to beat once the season begins on Aug. 29.
    After the Bobcats, the forecasted picture gets a little foggier.

    July 30, 2014

  • tim Baserunning blunder helps Giants end six-game losing streak

    Clint Hurdle says he and a pal often marvel over how there’s always something new to see at a baseball game.
    Too bad for Hurdle. What he watched Wednesday wrecked the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-5 loss.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • shazier Rookie linebacker making impression at Steelers camp

    Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.
    Some coaches looked at Shazier’s 6-foot-1 frame with plenty of room to grow and saw a defensive end.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greene’s No. 75 will be retired at Ravens game

    Joe Greene’s No. 75 now belongs to the ages.
    The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Wednesday the team will retire the Hall of Fame defensive end’s number during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 2.

    July 30, 2014

  • levon Bell planning to do better

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boilers advance in Pony series

    July 29, 2014

  • Martella’s Pharmacy, LAG name AAABA pickup players

    July 28, 2014

AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide