Brentwood swimmers repeat as section champion

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 5:06 p.m.

The Brentwood boys' swim team captured its second consecutive section championship — and fifth overall — in 2012-13.

The Spartans have been busy preparing for the WPIAL Class AA championship meet, slated for today, Thursday, and tomorrow, Friday at the University of Pittsburgh. Brentwood will be represented in every boys' event and one girls' event.

With the section title firmly secured, head coach Mark Wroblewski and his team have been focusing their efforts on a successful WPIAL championship meet.

If everyone is healthy, Wroblewski believes a few Brentwood swimmers could snag a spot at the state championships.

The top five finishers in each WPIAL race are guaranteed a trip to the PIAA championships at Bucknell University.

“All season, the kids have been swimming WPIAL standard times or better,” Wroblewski said.

Senior Danny Faix and junior Kevin Bakowski have qualified in several events. Faix will swim in the 200 and 500 freestyles and two relays. Bakowski will participate the 200 intermediate medley, 100 breaststroke and two relays.

“Kevin has a shot at making states in the 100 breaststroke,” Wroblewski said. “And there are others who are close too.”

Other Brentwood qualifiers include seniors James Eagle (100 butterfly), Josh O'Neil (100 backstroke) and Christian Reinhardt (50 and 100 freestyle).

Senior Ryan Vickless has qualified in the 200 freestyle relay, while freshman Nate Johnson will contribute on both freestyle relay units.

The boys' 200 freestyle relay unit is less than a second away from breaking the school record. Wroblewski believes they could set a new mark at the WPIAL meet.

Ali McGinnis, a senior member of the Brentwood girls' team, qualified for WPIALs in the 100 breaststroke event.

Jorgenson dives into state finals

Sophomore Tyler Jorgenson placed ninth at the WPIAL Class AA diving championships, which guaranteed him a spot at the PIAA finals.

Wroblewski encouraged Jorgenson to try diving this year in order to help the Spartans score more points in dual meets. Jorgenson exceeded expectations with his diving success.

“Who would've thought he would end up winning the South Park Invitational and qualify for states his first year,” said Wroblewski.

Johnson named freshman of year

Nate Johnson was named Brentwood's freshman of the year this season. He narrowly missed making the WPIAL cut in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events.

“He's going to be very good next year,” Wroblewski said.

Bakowski also is expected to be key contributor on next year's team. The Spartans will lose five seniors to graduation, but Wroblewski expects some talented freshmen to join the program.

Hard work pays off in championship

At the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Wrobleski admits he was not confident about repeating as section champion. But he says the team worked extremely hard.

With many swimmers involved in multiple sports, he challenged his swimmers to make the most of their pool time.

“I told them (that) when they're here for our practices, I wanted them to care about swimming. If you care about something, you'll usually excel at it,” he said. “They came together and became one of the best swim teams Brentwood has ever had.”

Long-range goals in place

After 13 years in charge at Brentwood, Wroblewski has goals for his swimmers that go beyond the pool deck.

“Years from now when they're sitting in a recliner eating cheesies and weigh 250 pounds, I want them to be able to look back and say to themselves, ‘You know, I was a really good swimmer.' I want to help make a memory for them,” he said.

Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.

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