Local youth swimmer finishes among best in the country in the backstroke


12-year old Lillian Kiraly finished 15th in the 50 yard backstroke in March among YMCA swimmers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Lillian Kiraly isn’t your average 12-year-old.

Swimming just makes me really happy, especially when we have a meet,” Kiraly said. “I love it, I swim here every morning and every night.”

And by morning, she means 5 a.m. workouts in the pool at the Downtown YMCA before school, which is one reason why she isn’t your average 12-year old swimmer.

Back in March, a then 11-year old Kiraly, finished 15th in the 50-yard backstroke among YMCA swimmers from across the country.

“No, honestly I didn’t,” Kiraly said. “I knew I made a zone time but I had no idea I did this.”

“There are so many kids that swim at YMCA’s across the country and to be in the top 15 in your craft is something,” said Terry Patterson, Kiraly’s coach. “Especially at the age of 11, she doesn’t swim like an 11-year-old. She swims much more like a 15 or 16-year-old.”

Kiraly finished the 50 backstroke in 31.25 seconds and nearly made the top 15 in the 100 backstroke. The success is only driving her more.

“A lot,” Kiraly said. “It makes me want to swim like five times a day, it makes me not want to stop swimming.”

“There is a lot of work that goes into it,” Patterson said. “A lot of thankless work,and it is behind the scenes, and she is willing to put everything into it.”

The dream for Kiraly is to work her way to represent the United States in the Summer Olympics.

“Yeah, it is something that I think about a lot,” she says. “I wanted to go to the Olympics for swimming since I was 9. It means a lot to me, it would mean that all my hard work actually paid off and that I achieved my goals.”

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