Category Archives for WPIAL Swimming

Indie swimmer Samuel Schirra, junior and third time in the WPIAL Championships AA meet

Samuel Schirra (pronounced Sheer – uh), a junior, qualified for the WPIAL AA Swimming Championships in the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. This is Sam's third year qualifying for the championships as an independent swimmer for Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh.

The 2018-19 season was particularly challenging, though, as Sam was out of the pool for almost five months. Sam suffered a fractured tibial plateau while running cross country in the fall. Plus, he had a lead role in the school play, “Pride and Prejudice.” Both kept him from daily swim practices with the Butler Y Barracudas until mid-December.

As an independent swimmer, Sam practices with his Butler Y swim team under Coach Corrie Jones and then swims to get a WPIAL qualifying time in an open lane at a Knoch High School swim meet, thanks to the generosity of the Knoch coaches.

He is working hard to get his times back to where they were last year and hopes to see good results at the championship meet.

Independent high school swimming runs in the family. Most recently, Sam’s brother Ian swam as an independent swimmer for Aquinas Academy, qualified for WPIALs all four years, medaled at WPIALs and went to PIAA State Championships twice, achieved All-State honorable mention, and currently swims for the Mount St. Mary’s University Division I men’s swim team.

Sam’s eldest brother, Jake, started the family tradition when he decided to try high school swimming his senior year, becoming the first independent swimmer for Aquinas Academy. Jake qualified and swam the 50 free at WPIAL championships in 2010, and Sam is looking to beat his eldest brother’s record of 23.58.

WPIAL Swim & Diving connection with Westminster College

    Pat Smith – Westminster College - Head Swimming and Diving Coach

    2019 results for the Titans
    • Women's team - Conference Champions - First Time in 12 years. 
    • Men's team - 2nd place. Have been Conference Champs 5 of last 7 years and have been 1st or 2nd in conference every year since 2003.
  • Head coach swam at South Park High School and graduated in 2004.
  • Diving coach, Heath Calhoun, graduated from Butler High School and was WPIAL runner up in diving and 3rd at PIAA Meet.
  • Westminster's coach's message

    I tell everyone we meet, come to Westminster ready to work hard, be a good teammate, get good grades, don't get in trouble, and have fun, and you will be successful. All of those things don't take talent.

    People of Westminster:
    • David Peffer - Riverside - Conference Champion - currently ranked 19th in NCAA Division 3 in the 200 Back, just named first team all conference.
    • Matt Kwalick - Quaker Valley - 200 IM - School Record Holder, just named first team all conference.
    • Roody D'Agaro - Chartiers Valley - 2nd team all conference
    • Carolyn Novak - Upper St. Clair - conference Champ in the 100 Free, 1st team all conference.
    • Maggie Manolis - Jeannette High school - conference champ 100 BR and 200 BR. 1st team all conference.
    • Jamie Elia - Blackhawk - 1 meter and 3 meter Diving - Regional Qualifier, 1st team all conference.
    • Abby Jones - Knoch High school - 2nd team all conference, conference runner up in 200 IM, 100 BR. 200 BR.
    • Nicole Stengel - Carlyngton High School - 2nd team all conference, 2nd place in the 200 fly, 3rd place in the 100 fly.
    • Megan Routch - West Allegheny High School - 2nd team all conference, 4th place in the 200 free and 1650 free.
    More Team members who are WPIAL Swimmers
    • Constantine Kallaur - Distance - Bethel Park
    • Kevin MacMurdo - Distance - Carlynton
    • Nicholas Pirollo - Sprint Free - Canon Mac
    • Brittney Drobka - Sprint Free - Kiski Area
    • Courtney Kinkead - Free/Fly - Greater Latrobe
    • Carinna Lapson - Free/Fly - Hopewell
    • Cait Peace - Breast/IM - Blackhawk
    • Emily Russell - Free - Bethel Park
    Alumni at WPIALS
    • Tom Donati '91 - Mt. Lebanon
    • Todd Slobodnyak '12 - Mars

Beaver Falls High School swimmer sprints into her 4th WPIAL meet

Source: Chelsea Dawson, coach the Beaver Falls High School Swim Team.

Our school pool has been closed for about seven years now due to financial reasons. However, refusing to let our team fade away into the sunset, we found a new facility to practice at. Our team now practices everyday during the swim season at New Brighton's community pool.

Meet Gabby Minto 

We have one swimmer, Gabriella (Gabby) Minto, who has made it to WPIALs all four years of her high school career. She will be competing in the 50 yard Freestyle and the 100 yard Freestyle. She is an amazing athlete who has worked so hard for all of her accomplishments. Last year, she even made it to states in the 50 yard Freestyle.

I am always looking for ways to inspire my swimmers to never give up and always try their best. This season I searched for inspirational quotes to provide swimmers with before every meet. The quote I am using for Gabby for her first day at WPIALs on Thursday is from the Highland Hurricanes Swim Club's head coach, Nick Castillo. "Swim your Race! Think like a Bumble Bee and Race like a Race horse!" Bumble Bees think about what they are going to do and they are humble. They also fly when others don’t think they can. When it comes to race horses, swimmers train hard and come meet time, they race like them.

I am so proud to be a swim coach and am looking forward to having a great time at WPIALs at the end of this week.

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