Annual WCCA swimming championships help prepare teams for WPIAL meet
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Although the Westmoreland County Coaches Association swimming and diving championships are not on the same level of competition as next month's WPIAL championships, the event Friday and Saturday at Derry Area High School quickly has grown in importance to local schools.
“It gives the kids the bragging rights for the county, but at the same token, it gives the coaches a good measurement of how their kids will do at WPIALs,” Derry coach Jeff Kelly said. “We're going to have kids here who are obviously going to be top competitors at the county, district and state level.”
Not long ago, the WCCA struggled to convince many of the county's top teams to compete in the meet. But in recent years, coaches have begun to see the benefit of the competition.
This year, 17 teams will be competing for the county title: Belle Vernon, Burrell, Derry, Franklin Regional, Greensburg Central Catholic, Greensburg Salem, Hempfield, Jeannette, Kiski Area, Kiski School, Latrobe, Ligonier Valley, Mt. Pleasant, Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Valley and Yough.
“We're happy to have people come here,” Kelly said. “We're thrilled to death that we get so many coaches to come out, put their time into it and get the good swims that they get.”
While the swimmers are gunning for medals, many coaches still are more concerned about preparing for the WPIAL championships.
The county meet gives teams another great chance to try and earn WPIAL qualifying times and gauge their position against some of the area's top competitors.
“It's nice to have the county title, but it's not something that we're preparing special for. At this stage of the game we're looking beyond for WPIALs,” said Franklin Regional coach Vic Santoro, whose girls team finished second to Latrobe last year at the county meet and placed fifth at the WPIAL championship. “You can slightly address training, but we won't be pulling out the high-tech suits or shaving and tapering or anything like that.”
An aspect of the event that makes the WCCA championships unique is that each team can only enter two swimmers or divers per event as opposed to the four that are allowed in the WPIAL meet. It's one of the major reasons teams don't put as much stock into the outcome of the event, but that doesn't mean coaches are willing to concede a loss.
Rather, a bit more strategy comes into play.
“If you're going for the win, you have to predict where other teams are going to put their kids,” said Penn Trafford coach Dave Babik, whose boys team won the WCCA meet last year by edging Franklin Regional, 262.5-254. “You tend to get higher quality swims because only the best are the ones that are going to make it.”
Ultimately, teams need to protect their swimmers and keep their training regiments on pace for the WPIAL and even state championships, Santoro said.
The diving competition is set to begin at 5 p.m. Friday and the swimming competition will start at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Penguins GM insists coach Johnston was no afterthought
- Pirates down Cardinals, inch closer in wild-card chase
- For Steelers outside linebacker Jones, size is not an obstacle
- Pirates notebook: McCutchen returns to starting lineup; Alvarez out
- URA drops Philly developer, cites delays on Garden Theater block project
- Pittsburgh sues Perry South man to force him to clean house of filth
- Minor league notes: Baseball vagabonds improve stock with strong seasons
- No injuries after Greensburg-Salem school bus accident in Murrysville
- Foundations reject overture from developer on August Wilson Center
- Duquesne will open A-10 play on national television
- Social media firms walk fine line with jihadists