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Brentwood swimming a melting pot of athletes

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

The Brentwood boys' and girls' swimming teams have developed into a strong program that expects to win.

In 2010-11, the Lady Spartans captured a section title in historic fashion, ending the season undefeated.

Last year, the Spartans followed up with their own section crown.

This season, the goals are a little different as the girls' team rebuilds, while the boys already have reached numerous individual goals. Both teams are striving to be competitive in section action.

“We're off to a good start. We're in the middle of the pack in a really competitive section; we really want to hold our own,” Mark Wroblewski, Brentwood's longtime head coach, said.

Heading into the new year, the Brentwood girls' team record stood at 4-1; the boys' team was 5-0 overall.

The Spartans have qualified for the WPIAL Class AA finals in all three relays, and in every individual event except the 500 freestyle.

Wroblewski also expects sophomore diver Tyler Jorgenson to qualify before the end of the season.

Junior Kevin Bakowski, who along with seniors Josh O'Neil and Christian Reinhardt are team captains, has qualified for the WPIAL meet in multiple events.

Bakowski, O'Neil, Reinhardt plus senior Dan Faix have been swimming well in the early portion of the schedule, according to Wroblewski.

Two leading freshmen prospects on the boys' team this year are Nate Johnson and Dominic Woods

“Nate Johnson and Dominic Woods are really fast freshmen,” Wroblewski said.

The veteran coach predicts the Lady Spartans will end up qualifying for the WPIAL championships in three relays, and also expects individual qualifiers in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 100 breast stroke events.

Senior Ali McGinnis plus juniors Alexis Gaughan and Katy Ellen Kramer are the team captains.

Along with McGinnis, Gaughan and Kramer, sophomore Shelby Stockline is another top swimmer for the girls' team.

“This is the biggest team we've ever had,” Wroblewski said. “We have some really good chemistry. We've developed from a team into a program.”

Wroblewski especially is proud of the team's size and competitive skills because Brentwood does not have a youth swimming club to serve as a “feeder” for the high school program.

Instead, Brentwood relies exclusively on the middle school program to develop young swimmers.

The boys' and girls' teams also draw other athletes to their rosters.

Wroblewski proudly described the swimming program as an ‘Ellis Island” of sports, creating a modern day melting pot of Brentwood athletes.

This season, Brentwood cheerleaders, football players, soccer players and track members have joined the program.

“We have a lot of fun, work hard, and they get in shape,” Wroblewski said. “We should have a Statue of Liberty outside the pool.”

Remaining 2012-13 team members include seniors Adau Deng, Robert Domer, Kayla Doran, James Eagle, Mackenzie Kramer, Sydney Stankus and Ryan Vickless; along with juniors Alexis Bubacz, Steve Lukasiewicz and Brandon Striplin.

Brentwood's sophomore class is represented by the likes of Natalie Andrews, Christopher Bezek, Sara Frey, Mary Grace Hines, Christian Ivers, Jorgenson, Sydney Luther, Cassidy Nodaros, Alexa Perrotti, Jacob Staude, Stockline and Mark Tichenor.

Along with Johnson and Woods, freshmen prospects include Angela Baker, Eric Boehm, Jonathan Karsh, Alithia Kephalogianis and Kara Schoedel.

Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.

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