Share This Page

Penn Hills' brothers' healthy rivalry helps propel swimming performances

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
From the left, the Gregory brothers — sophomore Norman, 16, freshman Isaiah, 14, and seventh-grader Kimani, 11 — pose for a photo at the Highland Park Pool. Isaiah and Kimani set new records over Memorial Day weekend at the National Black Heritage Swim Meet in North Carolina.

The Gregory brothers caught swimming coach Hosea Holder's attention quickly when he first encountered them about six years ago.

“They had the ability to take instructions and execute them, and maintain the techniques that we've taught them,” said Holder, head coach for the Pittsburgh Stingrays and a swimming coach for nearly 50 years.

“There's a competitive spirit between the three of them that makes it very easy for coaches,” he said.

That spirit is not tough to see.

As the brothers — high-school sophomore Norman, 16; freshman Isaiah, 14; and seventh-grader Kimani, 11 — answer questions about their most recent swim meet, they can't help jabbing one another.

When Kimani claims to have set a particular record at the meet, Isaiah quickly jumps in.

“No you didn't! You didn't live up to the hype!” he said.

Both Isaiah and Kimani did set records at the 11th annual National Black Heritage Swim Meet, which took place over Memorial Day weekend: Isaiah in the 100-meter breast-stroke, with a time of 103:89, and Kimani in the 100-meter freestyle, where he posted a time of 53:52.

The boys' father, Norman, serves as an assistant coach under Holder, and will work with his sons as they begin preparations for USA Swimming sectional competition and try to earn a spot on the Eastern Zone Swimming All-Star team.

Over the summer, the boys attend Stingray practice at the Highland Park Pool on Lake Drive in Pittsburgh, working from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on weekdays.

They said the relaxed, quiet atmosphere at the pool makes practice go by more quickly.

“I love the weather,” Isaiah said.

“Plus we get (practice) done with in the morning,” Norman chimed in.

Holder said he hopes the brothers will serve as an inspiration to other youths considering swimming as a sport.

He offers anyone interested in Stingray swimming a free lesson to show them how the team practices operate and to hopefully build its ranks.

There are 23 swimmers on the team, and Holder would like to see that number rise to about 75.

“Everything we do is geared toward swimmers achieving their goals,” he said.

Those goals are in sight for the Gregorys.

Last year, Isaiah came up one short of holding every Linton Middle School swimming record. The record he did not break is held by his older brother.

Of course, Kimani was quick to speak up when asked if he's coming after those records.

“Definitely,” he said.

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.