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Gators swimmers and divers reach several WPIAL qualifying marks

| Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 8:50 p.m.

The Gateway varsity boys and girls swim teams kicked off their seasons last week against Hempfield and Penn-Trafford, and a number of Gators swimmers fared well in those meets.

The Gateway boys edged Hempfield, 94-89, and Penn-Trafford, 93-90, while the Gators girls squad fell to Hempfield, 99-83, and Penn-Trafford, 101-83.

Gateway head coach Jason Kunkle said it was nice for the swimmers and divers to get into competition after a long stretch of preseason workouts, including countless laps.

He said he credits their dedication to wanting to improve every day, and that it's nice to see the hard work pay off with fast times and high point totals.

Gateway swimmers earned numerous individual and relay first-place finishes in both meets, and several secured spots at WPIALs with times that meet the qualifying standards to compete in late February at Pitt's Trees Pool.

Against Hempfield, senior Drew Nosbisch qualified in the 200 IM (2:03.71), the 100 fly (53.50) and the 100 free (49.61), while junior Alex Caprara punched his ticket in the 200 free (1:51.66), the 50 free (23.09) and the 100 breast (1:00.76).

Juniors Jake Beley and Alex Bolen both qualified in the 100 back with times of 56.52 and 59.90, respectively.

On the girls side, sophomores Sarah Sheldon and Sydney Mandella qualified in the 100 back (1:04.79) and 100 free (56.79), respectively.

Additional qualifying times were met in Gateway's meet with Penn-Trafford, as Nosbisch met the standard in the 200 free (1:50.10).

Caprara added times in the 100 free (50.89), the 200 IM (2:03.39) and the 100 fly (55.25), and Beley made it in the 100 free (55.25).

Junior Ian Kirkpatrick joined the fun with a qualifying time in the 100 breast (1:06.99).

Alison Perry, a junior, will return to the WPIAL diving championships in February, as she qualified against Penn-Trafford.

Kunkle said he expected his swimmers to earn qualifying times quickly, and he also expected more to qualify Tuesday at Franklin Regional. The meet with the Panthers was to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.

All six relay teams (boys and girls) qualified for WPIALs against Hempfield, and specific swimmers for each WPIAL relay don't have to be declared until the day of the championship meet.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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