Baldwin swimmers off to fast start

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Thursday, December 28, 2017 | 11:00 PM


Ryan Johnson takes a positive approach to each season as coach of the Baldwin swim program.

This year is no different.

“We expect to have a productive season,” said Johnson, a 2003 Baldwin graduate who is assisted by Kim Klinger. “The outlook is positive, and I am excited for the season.

“We graduated quite a few seniors last season, but there are some new up-and-coming prospects in Dylan Stokes, Nicole Kosco, Leah Revo and Allison Schroeder, who will, with some hard work, help fill those spots.”

Kosco, Revo and Schroeder are freshman members of the girls team. Stokes is the lone freshman on the boys team.

Johnson is looking for a successful season for the girls squad, led by seniors Jordan Fediaczko and Kaleigh Varney.

“Jordan and Kaleigh will lead our girls team to what could be a very successful year,” Johnson said, “since our only WPIAL qualifying female athlete last year was a diver.”

There are five seniors on Baldwin's girls squad, consisting of Fediaczko, Varney, Lauren Conklin, Taylor Donahue and Sarah Fader.

They are joined by juniors Sophia Altavilla, Camryn Beveridge, Katelyn Meyer and Devon Schroeder; sophomores Ciara Decker, Gemma Gurcak, Brianna Rodiguez, Darryn Sleeman and Crista Sucevich; plus freshmen prospects Abrielle Stowell, Kosco, Revo and Schroeder.

The Baldwin girls won three of their first four meets this season.

“The team is looking very strong and competitive,” Fediaczko said. “All the girls are excited and racing very well so far. For the rest of the season, we would like to come out with some more wins and qualify for WPIALs. We are all practicing very hard in order to achieve our goals and have a successful season.

“Our team is relatively small compared to previous years since a lot of the swimmers graduated. But we gained a lot of freshmen who have been performing very well and are continuing to improve. Nikki Kosco and Dylan Stokes have been working hard with their eyes on the WPIAL cuts.”

Fediaczko's strongest events are the 50 and 100 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke.

“My personal goal for the season is to give it my all in every race I️am in since it's my last year,” she said. “I️ started swimming competitively in fourth grade because I️ loved swim lessons, and the water. I️want to end my swimming career knowing that I️gave it my all.

“I️would also like to qualify for WPIALs one last time in the 200 freestyle relay since I️have been a part of the qualifying relay every year.”

Fediaczko has a 4.183 GPA and is treasurer for the National Honor Society (“which I really enjoy,” she said). She also is a Math League participant.

“I️used to participate in cross country and track until I️ got stress fractures in both of my shins,” she said.

Fediaczko plans to attend Duquesne, where she will major in finance and mathematics while minoring in actuarial science.

“I️applied to a total of five colleges and I️picked Duquesne out of them,” she said. “I️really admire the campus, and they have a lot to offer.”

Baldwin's boys team, which is 2-2 overall, consists of seniors Justin Hackman, Joe Hughey, Josh Manning, Vincenzo Teahan and James Werner; sophomores Corey Geyer and Joe Weber; plus Stokes.

“Our boys team will be focused on rebuilding over the next few years,” Johnson said.

Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Chartiers Valley, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair are members of Section 4-AAA.

Baldwin's section schedule for the first month of the new year consists of home meets against Peters Township (Jan. 4) and Mt. Lebanon (Jan. 18), and away meets at Upper St. Clair (Jan. 11) and Canon-McMillan (Jan. 25).

Johnson, who competed in swimming at Baldwin and at Washington & Jefferson, is in his fourth year as coach. He previously was an assistant for six years.

Klinger was Johnson's coach during his swim career at Baldwin.

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.

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