SSA swim teams looks strong again

Marty Stewart
| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

Last year, the Shady Side Academy swim teams had another stellar season.

The boys went 10-1 and the girls were 9-2 as both squads won the Section 3-AA title.

The boys finished third at the WPIAL tournament and also at the PIAA championships, while the girls were fourth at WPIALs and 16th at states.

The Indians lost 13 seniors from those teams, including four state qualifiers, but SSA coach John Landreth and co-coach Kegan Borland have a lot of talent returning.

The girls will return seven seniors led by captains Destin Groff and Maggie Leech, who both qualified for states last year.

Groff will swim in the IM while Leech swims the fly and the IM.

Maria Marcos, a WPIAL qualifier in the breaststroke, returns along with WPIAL qualifier Ali Sarner in the IM and backstroke.

Other seniors are Abby Mizak (freestyle), Becca Roman (freestyle, backstroke) and Holly Stewart (freestyle).

Juniors are Dominique DeRubeis (freestyle, backstroke), Theresa Diffendall (distance), Rachael Roman (freestyle, backstroke) and Jenna Wallace (freestyle).

Sophomores are Emily Jaffe, a PIAA qualifier in the fly; Angie Kim (breaststroke); and Mara Barron (freestyle).

Freshmen on the team are Cathy Almalouf, Meredith Brown, Caroline Colville, Annie Liu, Lindsey Miller, Natalie Pyle, Haley Raphael, Karen Shi, Erica Wallace and Elena Xiong.

For the boys, five seniors return, led by PIAA qualifiers Thad Ellis and Ryan Koul in the freestyle.

Troy Berglund and Jack Schowalter, both freestyle; and Gabe Rubio in the freestyle and fly, also return.

Juniors are led by Jason Weis, a WPIAL qualifier in the distance events; Frank Benckart in the freestyle; and David Nemcek.

The sophomores feature PIAA qualifer Brendan Leech in the distance events, WPIAL qualifier Andrew Lehman in the freestyle, Robert Davies and Ben Skinner in the freestyle and Sam Li in the breaststroke.

Freshmen on the squad are Nico Bodkin, Gray Garrad, Luke Pellegrini, Jacob Sarner and Jonathan Twan.

“We're looking forward to the season,” Landreth said. “We lost a lot of seniors but we have some very good swimmers returning. It's going to be a good year.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or

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