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WPIAL record-holder Gregory, Penn Hills swimmers set to begin new season | TribLIVE.com
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WPIAL record-holder Gregory, Penn Hills swimmers set to begin new season

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Penn Hills senior Julia Mikita prepares for the upcoming 2018-2019 season at practice Nov. 28, 2018.
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Penn Hills sophomore Michael Lintelman prepares for the upcoming 2018-2019 season at practice Nov. 28, 2018.
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Penn Hills junior Colleen Hoolihan prepares for the upcoming 2018-2019 season at practice Nov. 28, 2017.
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Penn Hills sophomore Irene Bowser prepares for the upcoming 2018-2019 season at practice Nov. 28, 2018.

The Penn Hills swimming program will have one final season with a Gregory brother on the roster as the Indians look to replace the production lost from the graduation of Stephanie Sipple.

Senior Kimani Gregory, a North Carolina State recruit, finished second in the 100-yard butterfly at the PIAA Class AAA championships last season with a time of 48.03 seconds, which was just behind Conestoga’s Brendan Burns (47.04).

In the 100 freestyle, Gregory finished third in 43.76. North Allegheny teammates Mason Gonzalez and Jack Wright finished first and second with times of 43.03 and 43.56, respectively.

At WPIALs, Gregory defended his 100 butterfly title by winning in 48.25. Gregory set a new WPIAL record in the 100 freestyle with a time 44.09.

“I’m excited for it. It’s a couple months away. I think it’s going to be something special and something to remember this year. We’re always looking to do better than we did last year,” Gregory said of the postseason meets.

Gregory was named an All-American in three events by the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association. He ranked seventh in the 100 freestyle (43.76 seconds), 19th in the 100 butterfly (48.03) and 50th in the 50 freestyle (20.52) nationwide.

“This year is really about preparing for college. We still want to go fast. We want to make finals at big meets and placing well. I think being college ready to the best of our ability is our top priority,” Gregory said.

“I want to get my endurance to a higher intensity level. I’m trying to get the best base so when I get to college it’s much easier for me.”

Sipple, who now swims at Cleveland State, finished 27th (59.00) during the prelims of the 100 butterfly and 30th (5:18.36) in the 500 freestyle at the PIAA meet.

At WPIALs, Sipple finished eighth in the 100 butterfly (58.12) and fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:09.49).

Outside of Gregory, the Indians return a handful of swimmers who qualified for WPIALs last season. Senior Glenn Hanna (50 free, 100 free), senior Emma Lintelman (200 IM) and junior Colleen Hoolahan (100 breast) participated in individual events at WPIALs but didn’t qualify for states.

Penn Hills coach Cheryl Ciorra has seen the commitment in the gym and in the pool Hanna has made and hopes the extra work will propel him to qualify for states.

“He’s been putting in the extra effort with lifting and doing everything that he needs to do because I think he has seen what it takes last year and how good he did and is motivated this year,” Ciorra said.

Ciorra hopes to see Emma Lintelman qualify again in the 200 IM, as well as in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Senior Julie Mikita looks to qualify in the 100 butterfly and backstroke.

Other Indians with hopes to qualify for WPIALs include senior Alice Bowser and sophomore Irene Bowser. On the boys team, Ciorra hopes senior Tommy Natalia and sophomore Michael Lintelman qualify for WPIALs.

Ciorra will lean on Hoolahan and Emma Lintelman to cushion the loss of Sipple.

“It’s going to be hard, of course, but the other girls are going to have to pull their weight. Hopefully, Colleen will step it up to another level, and Emma has worked hard all summer. Emma and Julia are good butterfliers, but not to her level, but they can help in dual meets,” Ciorra said.

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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