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Shaler swim team shows promise

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
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Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Nate Burwell is one of three seniors on Shaler's swimming team this season.
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Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Morgan Harris is one of the more versatile swimmers on the Shaler team.

Although he graduated five swimmers from last year's team, Shaler coach Keith Simmons is pretty excited for the possibilities of the season ahead.

“We added five freshman boys and two or three girls to an already-exciting nucleus,” Simmons said. “We are still a small team, but we have 23 swimmers, and now we have two divers.”

Having divers is a luxury Simmons is not used to, but he will take it.

Beginning on the girls side, Anita Peduto is back, a swimmer Simmons said can do a lot of things. Peduto, a senior, has been one of Shaler's best swimmers the past couple of years.

Molly Powers is a good freestyle and distance swimmer, according to her coach, and Meghan George and Brittany Hernon are versatile.

“Meghan is like Anita, who can do any stroke,” Simmons said. “Brittany is capable of a lot of things, too.”

Peduto is the only senior girl, and there are two senior boys, making this team a young one.

Nate Burwell and Billy Schmelzer will help lead the team with experience, and Morgan Harris is another swimmer on the boys side who has quite a repertoire.

Nate Porter got two WPIAL cuts under his belt after only one meet, and he made the cut in the 110 freestyle and 100 back stroke. Dillon Brown is another swimmer who has made a cut already.

“Those kids were tired,” Simmons said following the first meet. “They probably swam 11,000 yards (before that meet), but they got off to a good start.”

Simmons said he has a great level of dedication on this team. His divers, in particular, show commitment as they travel to Hampton and North Hills high schools to practice; Shaler does not have a diving board.

That dedication, along with the overall numbers, makes this one of Simmons' deepest teams ever, especially on the boys side. He like the possibilities at dual meets but said the team still has a long way to go for the WPIAL championships.

“The nice thing with the boys numbers is that they challenge each other,” Simmons said. “The boys went one, two and three in nearly every event against Montour.”

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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