Kiski Area’s Madzy, back with varsity, preps for WCCAs
By: Michael Love
Friday, January 26, 2018 | 11:19 PM
Joshua Madzy is glad to be back.
The Kiski Area senior didn't swim high school meets last year as he opted to concentrate on training with his Cavaliers club team.
But a coaching change with different training philosophies, Madzy said, encouraged him to come back, and he is having a strong season with top times to back it up.
“It was a hard decision last year because I really wanted to contribute to the (high school) team,” Madzy said. “I am at the level of training that works for me. I really enjoy the team aspect, no matter where I train or compete.”
As a sophomore, Madzy just missed a WPIAL top-eight medal and a trip to states in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyles. He said he's using those finishes as extra motivation.
This year, Madzy owns WPIAL qualifying swims in the 200 free and 100 backstroke, and he is fifth on the WPIAL's Class AAA qualifying list in the 100 back (53.51 seconds). Those lists are located at wpial.org.
He owns the top seed in both of his individual events for Saturday's Westmoreland County Coaches Association swimming championships set for 10 a.m. at Derry.
“There won't be a lot of pressure. I'm just excited for it,” Madzy said. “There will be some fast times. I'm just concentrating on getting better times for WPIALs. This meet is cool because it helps you see where you're at against other top swimmers.”
Madzy also is a part of the third-seeded Cavaliers 400 free relay with fellow seniors Caleb Hanson, Mitchell McGowan and junior Brenden Brzozowski. The relay set a school record at WPIALs last year with a time of 3:19.89 and placed 16th.
“The competition in a meet like this really pushes you,” said Brzozowski, who also owns the top seed in the 100 butterfly (55.55).
“It's nice to see what each team's best has to offer. We haven't really swum our best 400 free relay yet. We want to push ourselves and get a better WPIAL cut.”
Kiski junior Meredith Pepka is seeded third in the girls 100 butterfly.
“Everybody gets hyped up for this meet, and it's a lot of fun,” Pepka said. “Kiski swimmers always seem to perform well there. You often see a lot of season-best times.”
Burrell and Valley, both Class AA teams, will be a part of the swimming festivities. The WCCA weekend began Friday evening with the diving portion of the championships, but the Cavaliers, Bucs and Vikings had no divers entered.
It is one of the few times this season when competitors from both classifications go against each other. Burrell and Kiski also are scheduled to compete Tuesday in a nonsection dual meet rescheduled from Dec. 15.
Burrell and Valley will swim a Section 4-AA meet Feb. 15.
Each WCCA event features heats with a mix from AAA and AA, but separate team champions again will be crowned. Last year, the Franklin Regional girls and Hempfield boys took home Class AAA team titles, and Derry swept the Class AA team crowns.
Each AA and AAA team is permitted two entries per individual event, so strategy often is involved to get as many swimmers entered as possible.
“Competing against AAA teams gives our kids some added competition,” Burrell coach Samantha Bindas said. “It's that way with all of the AA teams. You see swimmers going for (WPIAL) qualifying times in other events or better times in events they've already qualified for.
“We just want them to do their best and give their best effort, no matter how they finish.”
Hannah Pastor is Burrell's top-seeded individual swimmer for the WCCA meet as she is ninth in the 200 and 500 frees. She also is a part of the 400 free relay — seeded eighth — with Claire Linderman, Allyson Lindo and Abby Horcicak.
The individual entries for all relays are subject to change.
Valley's contingent of swimmers is fronted by a 14th seed for Madison Hill in the 50 free, and the Vikings girls 200 free relay of Hill, Madison Enciso, Kirstin DeGraeve and Cari Stonis is seeded 11th.
Meet records fall every year, and eight all-time marks — four individual and four relays — were established in 2017.
Other schools represented Saturday are Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Derry, Mt. Pleasant, Belle Vernon, Latrobe, Greensburg Salem, Jeannette, Kiski School, Ligonier Valley, Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Southmoreland and Yough.