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Penn Hills Dolphins swimmer captures gold at regional competition

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Submitted photo
Swimmer Stephanie Sipple reacts after seeing that she won the 200-meter butterfly at the winter Eastern Zones Championships, held March 28 to 30 in Webster, N.Y. Sipple earned two gold medals and a silver at the competition.
Submitted photo
Stephanie Sipple, 12, has competed at the last three Eastern Zones Championships.

Penn Hills Dolphins swimmer Stephanie Sipple has had quite a month.

Sipple, 12, a seventh-grader at Linton Middle School, earned the most points in her age group at the Allegheny Mountain Swimming age-group championships, held March 14 to 17 at Trees Pool at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sipple won her age group in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly events, and in the 200-, 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-meter freestyle events. She was presented with the competition's High Points plaque.

Sipple swam in the 2013 Eastern Zones All-Star Championships, held March 28 to 30 in Webster, N.Y., and brought home gold medals in both the 100- and 200-meter butterfly, along with a silver in the 50-meter butterfly. She also qualified for the 200- and 500-meter freestyle finals, where she finished sixth and eighth, respectively.

With three trips to the winter Eastern Zones competition now under her belt, Sipple said she's no longer worried about being nervous on a big stage.

“My biggest challenge now is the practice, and not knowing who your competition (will be),” she said.

The Eastern Zones championship brings together swimmers from Maine to Virginia and includes top youth swimmers from Boston, Pittsburgh, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and northern Virginia.

Her favorite event remains the 200-meter butterfly.

“It's challenging and I like it because I'm good at it,” she said. “It takes a lot of strength and the distance is harder to do for a lot of people.”

Following Eastern Zones, Sipple will spend her summer doing long-course swimming for both the Penn Hills Dolphins and the Plum Aqua Club.

Penn Hills swimmers

Other Penn Hills youth swimmers represented the area well at the age-group championships, including:

• Julie Weyant, who finished second overall in the 200-meter butterfly, fifth in the 100-meter butterfly and second in the 1,650-meter freestyle.

• Lyndsey Schultz, who finished fourth overall in the 50-meter butterfly and 12th in the 50-meter freestyle.

• Charlotte Jones, who posted multiple top-10 finishes in the 10-and-under age group.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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