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Franklin Regional's Maholage to swim at Loyola

| Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Doug Gulasy | Murrysville Star
Franklin Regional senior Dale Maholage (center) poses with his letter of intent to swim next season at Loyola University Maryland on Friday, May 31, 2013, at the Franklin Regional High School counseling center. Seated next to Dale are his parents Sheri (left) and Jim (right); in back are Franklin Regional swimming and diving coach Vic Santoro (left) and athletic director Zach Kessler (right).

By his own admission, Dale Maholage didn't like swimming breaststroke when he was younger.

But after riding the stroke to a 15th-place finish in the state this past season, Maholage expects to keep using it at the next level.

Maholage, a senior at Franklin Regional, committed earlier this spring to swim next season at Division I Loyola University Maryland.

“When you're good at it, it's more fun,” Maholage said of breaststroke. “And I've really learned — I used to hate training breaststroke, but I've kind of reworked how I've been training for it.”

Maholage said he didn't like the slower tempo of breaststroke when he was younger, but he's now adapted more athleticism to his stroke.

The reworked stroke enabled Maholage to finish in seventh place in the 100-yard breaststroke at the WPIAL Class AAA swimming and diving championships in February, which he followed with a 15th-place finish at the state meet later that month.

He also qualified for the state meet in the 50 freestyle and as part of the 200 free and 200 medley relays.

His performances caused colleges to take notice.

“I was pretty late to the recruiting game,” Maholage said. “I had a bad junior season, but senior year went really well. I dropped a lot of time, particularly in my breaststroke, and that's really what I think they wanted me for.”

In addition to the top performances at the WPIAL meet, Maholage's leadership helped the Franklin Regional boys swimming team win its section this season.

“Last year, we lost a lot of our top senior boys,” coach Vic Santoro said. “This year, I didn't expect a lot from the boys team — I thought it would be more of a rebuilding year. But due to Dale's leadership abilities and the way he was able to motivate the guys on the team and himself step it up, the boys ended up winning the section.”

Loyola will officially join the Patriot League on July 1 after previously competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Greyhounds' men's swimming and diving team finished in sixth place at the 2013 MAAC Championships in February.

“They have some really, really outstanding kids, but depth overall is not great,” Maholage said. “It'll be an adjustment going to a new league for them, a more competitive league, than the one they're coming from. It should be interesting.”

Maholage, who plans to study accounting in college, chose Loyola over Division III Gettysburg because of its academics and its location in Baltimore, Md.

He plans to begin training for the season in July and hopes to earn a spot as one of Loyola's top competitors in the breaststroke as a freshman.

“I think Dale's best swimming days are yet to come,” Santoro said. “He works hard. And once he gets on a true weight program and nutrition and everything they'll add at college that we kind of introduce to them here, he will continue to excel and do well.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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