Coach likes where teams stand
The Plum varsity boys and girls swim team has turned the page in practices and competitions from December to January, and head coach Shawn Haupt said he hopes several more big swims awaits as the clock winds towards February's WPIAL championships.
The Mustangs are hoping to build on high-quality swims in the four December meets and last week's split against Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic.
The six relay teams and several individuals already have qualified for WPIALs, set for Pitt's Trees Pool in late February.
“To this point, I'm very happy with the way they've worked and performed in practice and in meets,” Haupt said.
“Everyone is working as hard, if not harder, than in past years. Everyone is on board with the hard-work-will-pay-off attitude. We've seen some great swims and fast times in meets.”
“After we finished up the hardest training of the season (over winter break), they were tired, but they came out and responded last Thursday (against Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic),” Haupt said. “They're still swimming fast.”
The Plum boys team beat Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 88-82, while the Mustangs girls bowed to Oakland Catholic, 99-69.
In the boys meet, the Mustangs won five events, and captured several second- and third-place finishes to put them over the top.
Sophomore Lucas Cerchario won the 100 fly (58.63), while sophomore Nick Figurelli brought home the 100 free (53.30).
Senior Luke Frederick won the 500 free (5:08.56) by more than 21 seconds.
The 200 free relay of Cerchiaro, Frederick, junior Shane Ging and senior Dan Szurley placed first (1:36.56), while the 400 free relay of Frederick, Figurelli, Ging and senior Berty Ruan did the same with a time of 3:31.63.
Although the Plum girls didn't come out on top as a team overall, two swimmers placed first individually against Oakland Catholic.
Freshman Tori Metz claimed victory in the 200 free (2:15.25), while freshman Hannah Adamski added a winning swim in the 50 free (25.87).
Plum was slated to face Allderdice on Wednesday, and it was a meet that was to take place past the deadline for this week's edition.
Haupt said several swimmers — Ging in the 50 free and 200 IM, sophomore Will Starr in the 200 IM, Ruan in the 100 fly and Metz in the 100 fly and 100 breast — were closing in on WPIAL qualifying times entering the meet.
“We discussed things as a team last week that even though we got through some of the toughest practices, it's still going to be a tough month,” Haupt said.
“It's one of the most important months as far as yards and getting in shape so we can use that taper (rest) before the championship meet. They get excited when they hear that word (taper), and it pushes them through the tough meets.”
Haupt said that optional morning practices have been beneficial to the team, especially the younger swimmers.
“That is a time we can work on correcting strokes and smaller things with starts and turns with the newer swimmers,” Haupt said. “We let them work on what they want to work on. It's been a great turnout because they want to work on certain aspects of their races.”
The Mustangs return to competition on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. at Woodland Hills.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.