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CoGo’s High School Sports Unsung Hero: Emily Zimcosky, Geibel Catholic High School

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On Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, Geibel Catholic High School's Emily Zimcosky had her wildest dream come true.

The senior swimmer qualified for a spot in the 2016 Olympic swimming trials this summer in Omaha, Neb. Zimcosky hit the qualifying mark of 26.17 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle at the Eastern Zone Long Course Senior Zone Championships in Buffalo, N.Y.

Zimcosky, who won WPIAL championships in the 100 freestyle as a freshman, sophomore and junior, and the 50 freestyle as a sophomore and junior, is also the CoGo's High School Sports Unsung Hero for the month of January.

The High School Sports Unsung Hero Award, presented by CoGo's, recognizes local high school student-athletes who have dedicated themselves to sports and academics, but traditionally have not received the deserved attention.

The extraordinary part of Zimcosky's achievements is that Geibel does not have a swim team, so Zimcosky is an independent swimmer.

Her club swimming coach, Renee Riggs, at Club Mountaineer in West Virginia, trains her. But it’s Zimcosky’s mother Kelley who serves as her coach at high school competitions.

“I, in a sense, get the best of both worlds,” Emily said. “I am able to continue my training under the same coaches year round but have my mom representing me at my competitions.”

Her mom enjoys the set-up as well.

“I have the best job ever,” said Kelley. “I represent her on deck and I get all the credit when she does well. That’s fun!”

For the younger Zimcosky, it is still sinking in that she’ll soon be competing for a spot on the United States Olympics team. At nine years old, she decided to take her swimming training more seriously and it’s clearly paid off. The journey toward the Olympic trials has taught Zimcosky many valuable life lessons.

“We don’t have control over the details and must overcome the obstacles we face,” Zimcosky said. “All things are truly possible, and while my accomplishments may be deemed as my own individual successes, I must be grateful for all of the great people that have helped me.”

Zimcosky’s mother is proud of her daughter for more than qualifying for the trials.

“I am the most proud of her when I watch all her hard work pay off and she is so humble about it,” Kelley said. “She knows that her talents come from God, and she is not afraid to give him the credit. That makes me so incredibly proud.”

Zimcosky plans to continue swimming at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Her goals in college are to represent Ohio at the MAC Championship meet and the NCAA tournament. For now, not surprisingly, she is focused on training for the Olympic trails.

“I look forward to gain knowledge of that higher-scale of swimming competition this summer,” she said. “This knowledge will hopefully help me strive to qualify again in 2020 and 2024.”

Zimcosky received the Unsung Hero honor Friday evening at Geibel High School prior to the Gators basketball game against West Greene.

For a lot of young student-athletes, sports are essentially a hobby. They represent an activity to boost a college résumé or a tool to stay active. But for many young athletes, sports mean much more.
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