Record number of Monroeville club swimmers qualify for meet
A Monroeville swim club will send the largest group its ever sent to a Pittsburgh swimming invitational in December.
The Monroeville Marlins Swim Association will send 18 individual swimmers to the 58th Annual Christmas Meet hosted by Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics in North Oakland.
“These kids are rock stars,” said Kathy Bernardi, the team’s lead developmental coach. She said qualifying for the meet is no easy feat.
“The competition is exceptional. These are the best of the best in the area who attend this meet. There are some fast races,” she said. “Some will have Olympic trial cuts taken there.”
The Marlins swim team is a private club of swimmers with a majority of the athletes who attend Gateway schools. Some, however, are students at Penn Trafford, Bernardi said. Ages of the swimmers range from 8 to 18.
This year, the team has 96 swimmers. A total of 25 will head to the meet to compete against swimmers from Virginia and other states in events such as the individual medley, freestyle, butterfly, backstroke and relays.
Four of the qualifiers attend Gateway High School. They are Jessica Stroh, Morgan Holmes, Primo Jenkins and Sierra Murphy. Stroh is a senior and the other three are in ninth grade.
Swimmers are divided into three groups based on skill and ability, Bernardi said.
“And it’s impressive to see these kids work. They practice five or six days a week, 11 months a year. There are no other sports that have that sort of commitment level coming from their athletes,” she said.
The swim team, which has been around for at least 40 years, Bernardi said, is often a feeder program into Gateway or other schools’ swim clubs.
The Christmas meet will be held Dec. 12-15 at the Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics pool at 2533 Allequippa St. For more information, visit its website at bit.ly/32TQouZ.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .