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P.O. Female Athlete of the Week: Lindsay Tanner

When Mercersburg Academy's Lindsay Tanner submerged into the pool for the 100 freestyle preliminary race at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships on Saturday, she was nervous, with the pressure of winning for her team weighing heavy on her mind.

"I was thinking about how much I had at stake for my team and for myself," Tanner said. "I knew I needed to do something special for myself and my team."

And she did do something special. Twice.

Saturday morning, Tanner broke a 33-year old school record in the 100 freestyle during the preliminary race, a record held by Olympic gold medalist Betsy Mitchell, a 1983 Mercersburg graduate. But Tanner wasn't done yet.

Hours later, she broke that same record for the second time, to claim second in the championship finals of the 100 free, touching the wall in 51.30, beating Mitchell's mark by .20 seconds.

Tanner is the Public Opinion Female Athlete of the Week.

Tanner's contribution on the weekend led to the Mercersburg girl's first Easterns championship since 1987 with a 10-point win over Episcopal Academy.

Prior to Easterns, the closest Tanner had come to beating Mitchell's record was by one second at the end of last season.

"I was able to channel my nervousness into a better swim," Tanner said, admitting that breaking the record felt sweeter knowing that it had formerly been held by an Olympian.

Despite winning the preliminary race by .30 second, she came in second during the final behind Payton Miles of the Hill School, but some may say her other victory proved to be worth more than a gold medal.

"It's been a long-term goal for her," Mercersburg coach Glenn Neufeld said. "We started talking about it last year and made it a goal to get the record before she graduates, so now she's ahead of schedule, which is great.

"She is talented and motivated, and she's not afraid to do things in practice to make her a better athlete. On top of that, she's a great racer. I'm comfortable with her as an anchor, I have a lot of faith in her and I'm confident in her to get a win."

Tanner, who is primarily a freestyle swimmer, also anchored the 200 and 400 freestyle relays for Mercersburg at the championships. The 200 free relay placed first, while the 400 claimed second in the last event of the meet. She also took second in the 200 individual freestyle, finishing in 54.54.

Lindsay Tanner, Mercersburg Academy

Sport: Swimming

Grade: Junior

Height: 5-foot-9

Parents: Charlyn and James Tanner

Events: Freestyle and butterfly 

Other interests: Tanner has worked on her school newspaper since 7th grade.

Surprising fact: She wants a career in national security.

Future plans: She has visited the U.S. Naval Academy with interest in being recruited to swim at the academy. 

Statistics: Tanner, of Silver Spring, Md., broke a 33-year old school record for the 100 freestyle, held by Olympic gold medalist Betsy Mitchell, twice on Saturday during the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships. In the final, she swam the event in 51.30, good for a second-place finish. Her efforts helped the girls win Easterns for the first time since 1987.