Penn Hills pool fixed, swim team closing out year in familiar waters
Penn Hills High School senior Stephanie Sipple wanted to close out her swim season in familiar waters.
“I've been swimming here since I was 8,” Sipple said. “First with the Penn Hills Dolphins, then the middle school and the high school the last four years. I've seen a lot of pools, and though it may be thought that I'm biased, our pool easily has one of the best setups, if not the best.”
Her hopes nearly dried up due to a failed heating system and broken filter.
District plant manager John Walsh said the Linton Middle School pool's two heaters, both more than 20 years old, needed to be replaced. There also was an issue with sand leaking out of the filtration system.
The pool used for competitions was shut down for weeks, and a home meet against Gateway had to be relocated to the Monroeville school, Penn Hills Athletic Director Stephanie Strauss said via email Friday afternoon.
She said Dec. 27 was the last time the team practiced at Linton until repairs could be made.
Practices were moved to the Olympic Swim & Health Club in Penn Hills and Gateway High School.
Three home meets remain on the schedule, including senior night Feb. 8 against Plum High School.
The swim team showed up at a recent board meeting encouraging officials to expedite repairs.
“I want to be able to embrace it and finish my last few swims at the place where I, and many others, first started,” Sipple told the board.
The school board later authorized spending $32,000 to make the repairs, which were completed this month.
Sipple said she was “extremely excited” about the opportunity to swim in her home pool again. But it was also a reminder that it will be her final meet as an swimmer for the Indians.
“It's just so bittersweet,” she said.
Strauss said the team showed a lot of heart during the downtime.
“I'd like to thank the swimmers and divers for their patience and flexibility over the past month,” Strauss said. “I'm very happy that the team will be able to finish out the season at home and send off the seniors properly. We have a talented team and I'm excited to see some of them compete at WPIALs and PIAAs.”