Derry swim teams look for ideal mix
The Derry boys and girls swim teams are rebuilding, but that's nothing new, coach Jeff Kelly said.
“Being a small school, we're always losing kids,” he said.
Both teams opened WPIAL Section 4-AA competition Tuesday at Valley.
Seniors Sydnee Shrum and Kathrine Curtin, junior Kealy Smartnick and sophomores Taylor Byers and Chelsea Dominick return to two relay teams that are intact after competing at the WPIAL championship last year.
Curtin (200-yard freestyle and 100 freestyle) and Byers (100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke) also competed individually.
Byers has potential to be one of the top swimmers in the WPIAL, Kelly said.
“I hate to heap expectations on someone so young, but she could be very good,” he said. “She's very versatile and is going to be a great find for some college (team).”
Shrum, a team co-captain, said the Trojans will be well represented at the WPIAL championship, where they finished 15th a year ago.
The boys team includes three swimmers who competed at the WPIAL championship last year.
Junior Dustin McCallen swam in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, where he is closing in on school records, Kelly said.
Senior Tyler O'Barto joined McCallen in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
Senior Neil Byers was on the 400 freestyle relay team.
Byers, a co-captain, worries about a lack of depth.
“We have some good swimmers, but we lost some, too,” he said. “It's tough finding replacements.”
Kelly, in his 20th year as coach, expects junior Andrew Downey and freshman Austin Buterbaugh to make solid contributions.
Downey is back after swimming in only one meet last year, Kelly said.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.