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Kathleen Tomko Molinaro always hoped someone would break her high school record in swimming — and now, her wish has come to fruition.
“It’s been a long time, but I had always hoped someone would break my record,” Molinaro said. “I’m happy for Autumn.”
East Allegheny High School senior Autumn Christner broke Tomko’s record for the 100-meter breaststroke in a swim meet against North Catholic on Feb. 9.
Molinaro set the record for breaststroke at East Allegheny High School in 1982. In addition to swimming, she was the president of Student Council and the recipient of an American Legion award. She also swam for a year in college.
“It was always fun to have a goal. I always wanted to go to WPIALs,” said Molinaro, who now lives in Murrysville. “I wanted to swim with my friends, and it was great camaraderie. I still enjoy swimming as therapy.”
Despite developing Parkinson’s Disease a few years ago, Molinaro remains active in her church, mentoring her daughters and riding her horse.
So, what advice does Molinaro have for swimmers today?
“It’s good to have goals, something to chase after. But you have to be happy wherever you are. I always told my kids to look at the whole picture. As long as you’re having fun, that’s what matters.”
Sarah Turnbull is a freelance writer in Irwin. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published March 02, 2021.