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.