Murrysville Swim Club team finishes fourth perfect season in a row
Finishing the summer swim season with a perfect record is great.
For Murrysville Swim Club member Maya Clark, it’s a familiar feeling: she is finishing her final run with the MSC swim team having achieved perfect seasons the past four years in a row.
“I’ve enjoyed the past 11 years so I’m glad I could end on a good note,” said Clark, 18.
Coach Mark Spinola has not lost a single dual meet since taking over as coach four years ago. He credited the size of the team — 160 swimmers – as a big part of its success and this year’s 9-0 record.
“There’s a lot of mentorship that goes on between the older and younger kids,” said Spinola, who is also an assistant coach for the Franklin Regional varsity swim team.
Clark said one of her favorite parts of this past year has been helping younger swimmers.
“I got pretty close with a lot of them,” she said.
This year’s team has 35 swimmers age 8 and under, “and they’re pretty good, too,” Spinola said. “I think that’s where some other teams struggle, is they don’t always develop their younger swimmers.”
One of those younger swimmers, 14-year-old Owen Holm, has certainly developed: he beat his own 50-meter freestyle record three times this season.
“I feel like I’m getting better every season,” said Holm, who has been on the MSC team for the past five years. “I want to continue that and try to get to a very high level, and earn a Division I scholarship to swim.”
The team practices daily, and their divisional meets in the Eastern Swim Association pit them against not just swim teams from Monroeville and Penn Hills but also from their own backyard.
“The MSC-(versus-Meadowink Swim Club) meet is a big deal for everyone, and it’s one of my favorite events of the year,” Spinola said. “They’re right over the hill. We have a big pancake breakfast that morning, and you can’t find a place to park.”
With 160 swimmers, though, even practice can sometimes be a challenge.
“With our 9-to-12-year-old age group, there were days when we had 67 kids at that practice,” Spinola said. “That’s ten kids per lane. So you want to have a coaching strategy that lets you have a good practice, but also be safe.”
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.