Mt. Pleasant swimmers focused for start of season
In terms of team competition, Mt. Pleasant's swimmers will face significant obstacles during the 2013-14 season. Mt. Pleasant has lost a number of talented swimmers, and the numbers for the boys and girls squads are down as a whole, which could greatly impact the program's chances of racking up wins in Section 4-AA.
Still, despite having limited resources, Mt. Pleasant swim coach Sandy Felice isn't selling her team short. She noted that it's difficult to predict how the wins and losses will play out because she doesn't know many specifics about some of the other teams in Mt. Pleasant's section (4-AA).
She does know what she has within her program, and that is a group of talented athletes.
The Mt. Pleasant girls team features 14 swimmers and one diver. The boys team consists of seven swimmers.
Although the numbers are low, especially for the boys, Felice believes they will be well represented when it comes time for individual meets at the end of the season.
“We've always had a small boys team,” Felice said, noting that the team lost four boys from last season's team and picked up one new swimmer. “I still think we should qualify three relays (for WPIALs), and we should have some individual qualifiers.”
The biggest loss for the boys squad was Dillon Zarycki, who was a team captain and WPIAL qualifier last season. Also missing will be Ethan Hurst, Jimmy Enlow and Seth Wright. All were WPIAL relay qualifiers who graduated.
The team will have the services of senior Dylan Ringer, who was a WPIAL qualifier in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley last season. Junior Adam Patula is a returning medley relay qualifier.
“I wish I had more of them,” Felice said. “Dylan is a senior planning on swimming in college. He is passionate. He steps up, and he is a leader. Adam is probably going to be a top breaststroker and a good freestyler. He's a good athlete.”
Felice also is expecting big things from Cole Dombrosky, who is new to the team as a freshman, and senior Noah Chovanec, who was a WPIAL relay alternate last season.
The Mt. Pleasant boys were the top Class AA team at the Westmoreland County meet last season. But for the boys, much of this season's success will be predicated on individual achievement.
“We won countys last year, and I don't know if it will be a possibility this year,” Felice said. “It depends on what other teams have. It would be nice, but we sort of focus on individual goals.”
The Mt. Pleasant girls also are gunning for individual success, although the potential is there for a solid team season.
The girls squad has to overcome the loss of graduates Chelsea Jesso, Katlyn Puskar and Rebecca Mohar. Jesso and Puskar were WPIAL qualifiers last season.
“We still have Fallon Nelson,” Felice said.
Nelson, a junior, qualified for states in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle last season. She will be counted on for a big season, as will seniors Kyra Lasko and Olivia Darr and sophomore Kaylie Martinowski. Lasko was a WPIAL qualifier in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke and Darr qualified in the 200 freestyle as well as three relays. Martinowski was a relay alternate.
Felice also noted that there is an influx of new talent on the girls team.
“We have some new swimmers that are good athletes,” Felice said. “They are fast learners, and they are working hard.”
Felice pointed out that Mt. Pleasant has added weightlifting to its training this year, which could help the swimmers in the big meets later in the season.
As of now, the team is concentrating on getting better during each practice. And according to Ringer, he likes the way things are shaping up for the Mt. Pleasant swimmers.
“We're all working hard, and we have high expectations,” Ringer said.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at email@example.com.