Monroeville Marlins swim team taking large contingent to Pitt Christmas meet
The Monroeville Marlins swimming team expects to up its number of entries at the Pitt Christmas Meet on Dec. 12-15 at Trees Pool.
Kathy Bernardi, an administrative coach with the USA Swimming club based at Gateway, said six members will try to qualify individually or add events at a meet Dec. 7 at Woodland Hills.
So far, 12 Marlin females and five males have entered the Christmas meet in 61 individual events, one of the team’s best showings in recent seasons. The Marlins will field seven relay teams.
In its 58th year, the meet is considered one of the largest in the Northeast.
Marlins competing individually will be: Jackson Bruno, Lydia DiPalma, Owen Echegaray, Trenton Eicheldinger, Jolina Estremera, Michelina Estremera, Morgan Holmes, Primo Jenkins, Roni Miller, Katelyn Pekarek, Madeline Pekarek, Aliya Rassiane, Madalyn Seman, Jessica Stroh, Caitlin Susko, Ian Vandervort and Lauren Vandervort.
Relays include Mallory Brown, McKenna Brown, Rocco Giovannitti, Elle Kaminski, Gianna Laurenti, Sierra Murphy, Delaney Race and Sebastian Seman.
The Marlins have 96 members.
Bernardi said success has not come overnight.
“We have been building this team for a number of years,” she said. “We have made a four-year transition from primarily a winter team to a full-blown year-round program.
“We have made qualifying for bigger regional meets a team goal.”
The Marlins, a member of the Chestnut Ridge swimming league, are trying to make cuts for the Allegheny Mountain Swimming Junior Olympics in March.
Madeline Pekarek, 8, said she worked hard to qualify for the Christmas meet.
“I want to do good and really be good for my relay,” she said. “(I am) happy and excited I get to go with my twin sister.”
Holmes, 14, a Gateway freshman, said the meet is a yardstick for her times on the high school team.
Lead training coach Mike Farren said the Marlins leave the pool tired but smiling.
“We have high expectations for them,” he said.
Bernardi said Marlin coaches have a lot of ideas.
“Not 24 hours after hosting a big meet, two different coaches emailed with more ideas to improve our team,” she said.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.