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Seven swimmers lead West Mifflin girls to 7th-place finish at WPIALs

| Thursday, March 10, 2016, 7:51 p.m.
Sporting medals from the WPIAL championship meet are, from left, Chassidy Raymond, coach Steve Larkin, Arli Tilves, coach Walt Reamer, Heather Naughton,coach Dan Kostovny and Ashley Lynch.
Sporting medals from the WPIAL championship meet are, from left, Chassidy Raymond, coach Steve Larkin, Arli Tilves, coach Walt Reamer, Heather Naughton,coach Dan Kostovny and Ashley Lynch.

The West Mifflin girls swimming team had one of its best showings at the WPIAL Class AA championship meet March 3 and 4 at Pitt's Trees Pool.

With only seven competitors, the Titans placed seventh and had two girls qualify for the state championship March 16 and 17 at Bucknell University.

Junior Arli Tilves is seeded 16th in the 100-yard butterfly event in 59.77 and freshman Ashley Lynch is 28th in the 200 freestyle event in 1:58.94 on final psyche sheets released by the PIAA.

Both finished sixth at the WPIAL championship.

West Mifflin coach Steve Larkin said it was the most impressive the Titans have been at the meet since he took over in 2002.

“Our team has challenges not all other teams encounter,” he said. “Even though I run a club team (year-round), many of our swimmers are brand new (to the sport) as freshmen.

“Swimming is a sport (at West Mifflin) that doesn't seem to attract much participation.”

The Titans earned medals in four events.

Besides Tilves and Lynch individually, the 400 freestyle relay team of Lynch, senior Heather Naughton, senior Chassidy Raymond and Tilves was fifth in 3:44.58, and the 200 medley relay of Raymond, senior Carly Fuga, Tilves and Lynch was eighth in 1:55.63.

Raymond (100 backstroke), Tilves (50 freestyle), Lynch (500 freestyle) and the 200 freestyle relay of senior Bethany Bugay, senior Kara Kovac, Fuga and Naughton scored in other events.

Tilves, 17, wasn't surprised by the team's success.

“We worked together so well,” she said.

The Titans were 13-0 in the regular season and captured their fourth consecutive section title.

They were 16th at the WPIAL championship a year ago.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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