North Allegheny swimmer Buerger carries on family legacy
With her brothers starring on the North Allegheny boys swimming team, Victoria “Torie” Buerger seemed destined for success at an early age.
“(She) almost learned how to swim being at meets watching those guys swim when she was 2 or 4,” Tigers coach Patrick Wenzel said.
Buerger, a freshman, lived up to those expectations at the WPIAL Class AAA championship meet March 2-3 at Pitt.
She came in first in the 100-yard backstroke event (55.57 seconds), third in the 200 individual medley (2 minutes. 3.75 seconds) and second in two relays.
The 400 freestyle relay she was on (3:26.39) bettered the old meet record.
She helped the Tigers girls to their ninth consecutive WPIAL title.
Buerger, 15, of McCandless agreed her brothers are role models.
Jonathan (Virginia), Matthew (Notre Dame) and Zachary (Princeton) continued their careers in college.
“I always looked up to them (and they) always encouraged me,” she said.
Wenzel, who also guided her brothers, said Buerger is one of the most technically sound swimmers he has guided.
“I'm already so proud of Torie,” said Wenzel, adding she is the first member of her family to earn a WPIAL individual crown as a freshman. “She works hard, smart and is a true competitor.
“We hope to see even faster swims at the state level.”
Buerger said she would like to lead the Tigers to a top-five finish at the PIAA championship March 17-18 at Bucknell in Lewisburg.
Mt. Lebanon coach Tom Donati, whose Blue Devils were WPIAL runner-up, said Buerger reminds him of her brothers.
“(She) has beautiful strokes (and) is always smiling,” he said.
The siblings are the second generation to swim.
Their father, David Buerger, competed for Churchill High School and Allegheny College in the 1980s.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.