ShareThis Page

Shaler swimmers are pushing toward the postseason

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Anita Peduto is one of the team captains who is helping the Shaler swimming team enjoy a solid season.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Billy Schmelzer and the Shaler boys swimming team have several WPIAL cuts earned and are chasing more.

Shaler swimming coach Keith Simmons has been pleased with the effort he has seen from his team as of late. It's not just the progress he sees but the extra effort everyone seems to be giving.

“We just finished a meet against Woodland Hills and found out the school had called for a two-hour delay for the next morning,” Simmons said. “The kids wanted to stay in the pool. They got in an extra 3,000 yards.

“These kids are 100 percent committed.”

Simmons' girls squad is led by Anita Peduto, an experienced swimmer in a squad largely made up on freshmen.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I expect a lot from myself,” Peduto said. “I am trying to get better than I was last year. I have improved, especially on my off strokes.”

Peduto said her butterfly is better, and she is close to her WPIAL cut in the freestyle. She already has earned her spot in the 200 IM, the 100 backstroke and the 400 free relay.

“The 100 back is my best event,” she said.

Being the most experienced swimmer on the girls side, Peduto tries to advise the younger swimmers by stressing hard work.

“I remind them that they can make a cut at any time, so keep working hard to get there,” Peduto said.

Nate Burwell may have been a late starter (only six years of organized swimming), but he has made a name for himself in the 100 breaststroke.

“It is the only stroke I am good at. I just feel like that is my event,” Burwell said.

Burwell said he focuses a good bit on the mental aspect of swimming. He imagines himself going through the motions and said that is a helpful way to prepare himself.

Burwell already has his WPIAL cuts in the breast stroke and medley relay.

“ I am pretty ecstatic to be going back down to Pitt. The last time I went, I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest,” he said. “We have a strong group here, and I feel like we feed off each other's energy.”

Billy Schmelzer is the third of Simmons' captains, and he already has WPIAL cuts in the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay.

“The 200 medley relay is my favorite event,” he said. “The important thing in the distance races is to keep your focus and not worry about getting tired.”

Schmelzer said the team has done well at the section meets, and he has improved his butterfly stroke and credits the countless hours of work he has put in.

“Every practice we all work hard; no matter what our competitive stroke is, we try to get the most out of it,” he said. “You have to be focused once you get on the blocks.”

Schmelzer said that the present is promising, but the future is equally as bright with the young swimmers getting better each time out.

“They boys have more cuts than they have in prior years,” Simmons said. “We still have a shot to get four or five more kids making their cuts. We have different boys on different teams.

“We had 18 or 19 personal-best times against Moon earlier in the season.”

Simmons added that this trio of captains is the best he has had in recent memory.

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.