ShareThis Page

Chartiers Valley swimmers looking for PIAA success

| Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 4:21 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | for the Bridgeville Area News
Brody Schmidt will compete in four events at the PIAA Class AA swimming and diving championships this week.
Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item
Drew Damich is the defending PIAA Class AA champion in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle.

The Chartiers Valley boys freestyle relay team proved how much experience can matter at the WPIAL Class AA swimming and diving championships.

The foursome of juniors Drew Damich, Brody Schmidt, Josh Rosato and senior Paul Novelli dominated the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1 minute, 28.03 seconds. In the 400 freestyle relay, the Colts fell just short of finishing first with a time of 3:14.14. Mars won with a time of 3:13.72.

Both times broke Chartiers Valley records.

“I had pretty high expectations going into WPIALs,” Chartiers Valley coach Heidi Fiorentini said. “And they surpassed my expectations. They went in knowing what they needed to do individually as well as a team.

“I am so proud of them. They were incredible.”

Both of the team's times were improvements from a year ago when it finished second in the 200 with a time of 1:30.54 and fifth in the 400 with a time of 3:21.83.

Chartiers Valley finished third overall in the Class AA boys standings with 159 points, behind Mars (233) and Quaker Valley (170.5).

For the relay team, winning gold and silver were the results of a season of dedication. The Colts came into the season with momentum from last year and began work on improving their starts and finishes. The team also worked on its swimming order to improve its time.

What helped most of all was just the familiarity the swimmers had with one another.

“It was more natural,” Rosato said. “There weren't any jitters behind the block. You knew you were racing with guys who you have been swimming with for two years. We have become pretty close friends. It made us want to win more.”

In singles events, Damich won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:42.51 and the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:35.88. The junior entered both events as the defending champion and showed considerable growth in both — he knocked nearly a second off in the 200 and nearly five seconds off in the 400 from his times at WPIALs in 2013.

Schmidt competed in the same races, finishing fifth in the 200 with a time of 1:46.85 and third in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:46.75.

“I think he surprised himself with how well he did,” Fiorentini said. “The 200 and 500 were probably my favorite events because of how well both of them improved this season.”

While they are competing against each other, Damich and Schmidt agreed having a teammate in the same events has been beneficial.

“You strive to be as fast and as good as that other person,” Schmidt said. “We use it to push each other in practice.”

“And it really helps in the team's points,” Damich added. “At WPIALs, we got 36 points just in the 500.”

Damich will enter the PIAA championships this week as the swimmer to beat in the 200 and 500 freestyle. He won gold in both events a year ago.

The relay team will look to continue its success at PIAAs. The team was unable to make it out of the preliminaries in either event last year, finishing ninth overall in the 200 and 13th overall in the 400.

But with an added year of experience, the team is looking to make a splash in its final race together.

“The ultimate goal is to win,” Novelli said. “We know there are going to be teams there with faster times, but we have surprised ourselves before. I am sure we can do it again.”

The PIAA Class AA swimming and diving championships were held Wednesday and today, Thursday. Results were unavailable at press time.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.