Carlynton boys, girls swimming on verge of section titles
When Michael Schneiderlochner talks about his swimming teams at Carlynton, he sometimes will preface his remarks with, “I don’t like to sound like I’m bragging.”
But it isn’t bragging if you can do it. With the boys and girls teams unbeaten in Section 1-AA and their toughest competition — Chartiers Valley — behind them, the Cougars are in line to win the section title for the third consecutive season.
“We thought we were going to be good from the beginning,” said Schneiderlochner, whose teams defeated Quaker Valley on Jan. 29. “For the third straight year, you know what you’ve got.”
The boys’ chances were bolstered by a roster that reached a dozen. That, Schneiderlochner said, is the magic number for putting swimmers in every individual event plus filling all three relays.
As of Jan. 31, the boys 200-yard medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams had posted qualifying times for the WPIAL meet. Eric Walker (100 butterfly) and Avery Brehm (50 free) qualified individually, and Schneiderlochner expects Jack Mickle to add his name to that list in one or more of the freestyle events.
As strong as the boys team has been, the girls are putting together what is shaping up to be the most successful season in program history. The girls finished 10th in the WPIAL team competition in 2018, and senior Katie Kozy is confident they can improve on that.
“I definitely thought we could,” she said. “We have a lot of girls, a lot of new kids and a lot of our returners came back. I would say we are stronger than we were last year.”
Kozy is carving a niche as one of the program’s most accomplished swimmers. Last season, she earned sixth-place medals in the 50 and 100 free at the WPIAL meet. She also anchored the 200 free relay team that placed eighth. She owns the school record in the 100 free and is part of all three record-holding relays.
She can become the first swimmer in program history to qualify for the WPIAL meet in all eight individual swimming events. As of Jan. 31, her last hurdle was the 100 breaststroke.
“Hurdle” might be an appropriate metaphor to use when discussing Kozy as a swimmer. She also is a member of the track and field team, and Schneiderlochner believes track helps her in the pool.
“It gives her some cross-training and makes her legs stronger and gives her some aerobics,” he said. “I think when she goes to college, she should continue to do both.”
Kozy has been working on fine-tuning her turns and starts. At this point, it is the nuances that will shave tenths and hundredths of seconds off her times, but Kozy insisted she isn’t concerned with time — although she allowed she would like to swim sub-25 seconds in the 50 free — as much as where she finishes.
She didn’t qualify for the PIAA meet last season because she didn’t place high enough at the WPIAL meet.
“I think overall I’m a better swimmer than I was,” Kozy said. “I don’t necessarily think I can win (at WPIALs), but I think I can do better placement-wise than last year.”
Kozy figures to have plenty of company at the WPIAL meet. Natali Lutsiv had qualified in the 100 back and 200 IM as of publication time, and Sara MacMurdo qualified in the 50 and 100 free. Schneiderlochner also expected distance specialist Gina Ulizzi to make it in the 200 and 500 freestyle. All three relays also are qualified.
The Cougars have yet so sport their “tech suits” for meets nor have they begun the tapering that will ramp up their bodies for postseason competition. Once they reach that point, Schneiderlochner might have a few more things to brag about.
Well, maybe not brag.
Chuck Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer.
You can contact Chuck at [email protected]
or via Twitter @CCurti_Trib.