Plum swimmers gearing up for WPIAL AAA finals
In dual meets the past two months, Plum varsity boys and girls swimmers worked to put themselves in position for a run at the WPIAL individual finals, set for Feb. 28 and March 1 at Trees Pool on the University of Pittsburgh campus.
With WPIALs now only one week away, final preparations have begun, including some fine-tuning of individual and relay swims as well as getting enough rest to build their bodies back up after a grueling dual-meet schedule.
“We try to do individualized work throughout the year, but with the increased lane space, we can give each kid a little more attention and get into some more detailed work,” Plum head coach Shawn Haupt said.
“We like to nit-pick and tweak some of the easier things. We aren't trying to reinvent the wheel. It's too late for that. It's a more fun atmosphere in practice.”
Haupt said he's pleased with the group that has qualified for WPIAL and will be swimming both individual and relay events.
“For Plum, this is a big WPIAL team,” Haupt said.
“We've taken these numbers before because of relays, but we've never taken this many for individual swims. It's nice to have this many individual qualifiers. We've made some real progress with the program this year.”
Ten Plum swimmers will swim at least one individual event at WPIALs. Seven will swim individually multiple times.
Taking to the pool individually are seniors Luke Frederick, Channing Nolan, Berty Ruan and Mia Pietropola; juniors Shane Ging and Katie Gore; sophomores Nick Figurelli and Lucas Cerchiaro; and freshmen Tori Metz and Hannah Adamski.
Ruan, Cerchiaro, Figurelli, Adamski and Metz will swim individually at WPIALs for the first time.
Sophomores Rachael Adamski and Brendan Sante and junior Nicole Thompson will swim at WPIALs as part of a relay team. All six Plum relay teams — three boys and three girls — will be in action at WPIALs.
The AAA meet will be from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on both Feb. 28 and March 1.
Swimmers will compete in the 200 medley relay, the 200 free, the 200 IM, the 50 free, the 100 fly and the 200 free relay on Feb. 28 and the 100 free, 500 free, 100 back, 100 breast and 400 free relay on March 1.
The top three finishers in each individual and relay event at WPIALs automatically qualify for the PIAA championships at Bucknell University from March 13 to 16.
Also, any individual or relay placing fourth through eight will be in the running for the additional spots for states.
“When I used to swim in high school, when WPIALs came around, I always treated it like a holiday,” Haupt said.
“There was anticipation of that holiday you worked so hard for. You put the hours in and the time in, and finally, the day is there. The kids feed off that.”
Frederick was Plum's lone medalist at WPIALs last year. He took eighth in the 100 breast with a time of 1:00.72.
“Luke is very excited for his swim in the 100 breast and for all of his swims,” Haupt said.
“He will be seeded high at WPIALs (in the 100 breast), and his seed this year is faster than last year's seed. He wants a shot at the top three.”
Haupt said Nolan still is hungry to take down the Plum girls record in 100 fly, which is 59.29 seconds.
Andrea Shuba set the current 100 fly mark in 2007.
“She will be seeded with her personal-best time,” Haupt said.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.