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Former Edgeworth swimmer making a splash at Ohio high school

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Julie Dierker finished eighth in the 500 free at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I girls state championship in Canton.

Things she learned as a member of the competitive swimming team at the Edgeworth Club in Sewickley nearly a decade ago helped Julie Dierker earn a medal recently at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I girls state championship in Canton.

Dierker, a junior at Upper Arlington, near Columbus, finished eighth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5 minutes, 3.94 seconds. Before moving with her family in 2006, Dierker swam for Edgeworth for two years.

“I got my start (at Edgeworth),” said Dierker, 16. “I learned about being part of a team and how important it is never to give up.”

“Julie's willing to put in a lot of time in a sport where there is no instant gratification,” Upper Arlington coach Dan Peterkoski said. “She works very hard.”

Dierker qualified for the state meet after finishing third in the district championship at Ohio State University (5:05.12).

Last year, she finished 11th in the state (5:04.62) after placing fourth in the district.

“I was happy to drop two seconds,” said Dierker, who clocked a career-best 5:02.33 in the state preliminaries this year.

Dierker, who trains year-round with the USA Swimming club at Upper Arlington, looks forward to next season.

“I'd like to better my time and help my team win states again,” she said.

Before finishing second to Cincinnati Ursuline this year, Upper Arlington was state champion eight straight times.

Dierker, the daughter of a money manager, has fond memories of swimming for Edgeworth.

“We lived around the corner from the club,” she said. “I could walk there.”

Among her keepsakes is a letter of encouragement longtime Edgeworth coach Mercedes “Merci” McCarthy sent before last year's state meet.

“She gave a ton of advice to make me calm,” Dierker said.

McCarthy wasn't surprised Dierker claimed a medal this season.

“Julie has huge potential; she won numerous awards with us,” said McCarthy, adding that Dierker's younger siblings, Molly and Will, also are fine swimmers.

With plans to swim in college, Julie Dierker is considering studying journalism or special education at Holy Cross, Kenyon or Trinity (Conn.).

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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