Share This Page

Seneca Valley freshman at home in the pool

| Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 4:51 p.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Swimmer Ali Kozlina, 14, of Cranberry Township, poses for a portrait between swimming laps at Seneca Valley High School on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.

The daughter of former standout swimmers, Ali Kozlina is making her own mark as a freshman on the Seneca Valley girls team.

Kozlina took first place in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events at the West Allegheny Christmas Invitational meet with times of 25.09 and 54.26 seconds, respectively.

She also was part of the winning 200 medley relay team, and anchored the 400 freestyle relay that finished second.

Her parents, Mike Kozlina of Hopewell and Melanie Buddemeyer of Penn Hills, were U.S. Olympic Team Trials finalists in the 1980s.

“Older coaches tell me all the time they know my mother and father,” said Kozlina, 14.

“There's some pressure living up to that.”

Kozlina trains at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill, where her coach, Al Rose, also coached her mother three decades ago.

“Ali works hard and is coming along really well,” said Rose, noting Kozlina posted her best times at the Pitt Christmas Meet.

Rose said Kozlina and her mother — a U.S. National Champion in the 200-meter butterfly in 1987 — have similar temperaments.

“Ali smiles a lot, but has a strong competitive streak,” Rose said.

“My mother has always told me to be nice, but once you get into the pool, not to be so nice until you touch the wall,” Kozlina said.

Kozlina, who also played soccer, became serious about swimming several years ago.

“I knew I had to spend more time at it,” she said.

Her parents said they refrain from giving too much advice.

“I lend support, but she's her own person and has to learn to do things her own way,” Buddemeyer said.

Seneca Valley coach Brian Blackwell said Kozlina accepts criticism well.

“You give her a correction and she applies it quickly,” Blackwell said. “Some kids don't do that.

“Ali wants every set to be better.”

Kozlina, who has qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA championship in four events, has modest goals this year.

“I want to do well at WPIALs so I make it to (the PIAA championship),” she said.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.