Watterson, Reinmund making waves on Seton-La Salle swim teams

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The Seton-La Salle boys' and girls' swim teams are back in action this season, hoping to capture another section title for the girls' team.

Anna Watterson already has qualified individually for the WPIAL Class AA championship meet in the 200 individual medley event.

Head coach Meloni DiPietro-Guthoerl hopes to have additional individual qualifiers on both the boys' and girls' teams by the end of the season.

It's a challenge without a pool of their own, but DiPietro-Guthoerl, 32, of Carnegie, hopes the dedication of the Seton-La Salle swimmers pays off.

“We're working very hard,” said the fifth-year head coach. “We may be a small team but we have surprising depth.”

The Seton-La Salle swimmers trained at Duquesne University until this year when a change in policy required them to move to Brashear High School for weekday practices and Chatham University on the weekends. The change has created some challenges, but DiPietro-Guthoerl says the teams have taken it in stride.

Evening practices begin at 6 p.m., with many staying after school to do homework then catching a bus to the pool for practices that run until 8 p.m.

“They're a dedicated bunch of kids,” DiPietro-Guthoerl said. “It's tough when we don't have a pool we can just walk to and use.”

But DiPietro-Guthoerl remains optimistic several other Seton-La Salle swimmers will qualify for the WPIAL finals

In addition to the 200 IM, Watterson, a senior, is close to qualifying in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events.

The girls' 200 and 400 freestyle relayers also are hoping to qualify. Seniors Ashley Aiello, Maria DeAngelis Nora Simmers and Watterson, and junior Jeanne Farnan, make up the relay units.

On the boys' team, the 200 and 400 freestyle relays have qualified. Swimming on both relays are Michael Reinmund, the Rebels' lone senior, and juniors Dan Leehan, Ryan Allen and Colin Bashaw.

They are expected to qualify for the WPIAL championships in the 200 individual medley as well.

Reinmund is close to qualifying individually in the 100 butterfly, while Leehan is close in the 200 freestyle. Also, Allen is near to a qualifying berth in the 100 breaststroke.

DiPietro-Guthoerl is looking forward to a bright future for the boys' team, as five of the 11 team members are freshmen.

“My upperclassmen did a lot of recruiting this year,” she said. “Swimming is different because it is one of the only true co-ed sports. We practice side-by-side.”

The coach believes it creates a unique camaraderie among the team members.

“Every team member is cheering behind the lane of our swimmers,” DiPietro-Guthoerl said. “Our girls' team would not have won the section last year without the boys' team there cheering them on.”

Watterson and Reinmund are considering offers to continue their swim careers at Penn State Behrend. Watterson also has an offer from Chatham University.

Other members of the Seton-La Salle swimming program this season include seniors Laura Barone, Erin Byrne, Mary Farnan and Rebecca Kelly; along with juniors Cindy Chen, Madeline Grafft, Olivia Kisker and Russell Shengyuan.

The sophomore class is represented by Christina DeAngelis, Hanna Marrone, Gabriela Nemeth and James Pietras.

The “Fab Five” freshmen members of the boys' team are Matthew Bissert, Anthony Capretto, Brendan Duffy, Joseph Farnan and Grayson Kisker.

Other top freshmen prospects include Paige Garase and Katie Smith.

Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.

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