Mustangs focused on being in best position in time for WPIALs
It's to that point of the high school swimming season when the top competitors in each of the eight individual events have put out a portfolio of swims from this year for everyone to take notice.
Or perhaps past exploits are example enough to know they will be a force when it comes time for the WPIAL championship meet in a month and a half at Pitt's Trees Pool.
Plum head coach Shawn Haupt said his concern is not focused on how swimmers from other WPIAL squads are ranked and what times they are putting up right now.
The focus is making sure his swimmers are cutting through the water at the fastest times possible.
“Our swimmers might have it in the back of their minds and wondering who else is out there,” he said.
“The swimming community is pretty small, and we kind of know who is out there. It is no big surprise at any point in the year. We're just worried about getting our times down right now. When it gets closer to WPIALs and they pick their individual events and we map out the relay combinations, it could be more of a factor.”
The history of WPIAL swimming has shown that times during the season often are higher than what are produced at WPIALs because a competitor isn't fully tapered, or rested.
Any type of rankings can reflect that.
“We only control what we can do in our pool and during our practice time,” Haupt said. “We know that seniors move on each year, but you have to bank on the fact that a couple of talented freshmen could step up or someone from the middle of the pack could step up.”
Senior Luke Frederick finished eighth in the WPIAL AAA boys 100 breast last year and earned a medal. He knows that Gateway senior Drew Nosbisch and Penn Hills senior Gabe Larson, who finished tied for second at WPIALs in 2012, will be right there, as well as Gators junior Alex Caprara, who took fourth in the event last year.
Seven of the eight medalists in the AAA 100 breast were underclassmen.
“Luke should be entering WPIALs in the 100 breast a lot faster than where he ended last year,” Haupt said.
“We're expecting him to be in that top five spots. He knows who will be there, and his goal is to make states. He's working pretty hard this year and has been swimming really fast. That's great to see because he is sore and tired. We're really looking forward to tapering him and seeing what happens.”
Haupt said he hopes a swimmer such as Plum freshman Hannah Adamski can be one who will step up and make a mark.
“I think she can surprise people,” Haupt said.
“She made her cut (in the 50 free) early and got that out of the way. She only has the 50 free right now. This is the first year where she's trained full time, and I think when she's rested, she can surprise people and be somebody who not many people will expect to see in the upper echelon (at WPIALs).”
That focus for improvement at WPIALs also is seen in efforts of returning Plum WPIAL veterans in seniors Channing Nolan, Mia Pietropola, Berty Ruan and Dan Szurley; juniors Katie Gore and Shane Ging; and sophomores Lucas Cherchario and Nick Figurelli.
Haupt said a couple of swimmers still are a second or two away from adding events to Plum's WPIAL qualifying list.
“There are a few weeks left, but time is ticking away,” Haupt said.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.